Friday, June 03, 2016


Red T Shirt

While sorting out my cupboard I found the attached T Shirt from the past Glory Days of St Mary's Bay Summer Camp. 

This Martial Arts Camp started in 1965 founded by Nobby Clarke from Sittingbourne using the old St Mary’s Bay Schools Journey Centre, then the ACF camp St Mary’s Bay Romney Marsh which was to be our home till 2006 when that was demolished to the newly built ACF Camp Dibgate St Martins Plain Folkestone. Nobby ran the camp till 1988 when illness prevented him carrying on his son Martin took over, the camp is still known as Nobby’s camp event though Martin has run it for more years, but then that is what a legend is all about. The Army no longer allows us to use the Camp so Martin’s Son John runs a weekend Summer Camp at the Swale Martial Arts Club Sittingbourne

What was significant about the T Shirt was that it was the last time we had children under 12 on the course I am guessing it was about the early 1990’s. Laws had become extremely hard for people organising residential children’s courses and very expensive. All our coaches were qualified to Teach Judo etc. but legislations was to arrive for all them to pass further Government Institution exams and with the restrictions put on how many children in your control it just became financially impracticable but safe guarding children was paramount. Our biggest danger was taking the children to the Beach and Sea, so we  devised a method where every Coach, Helper would where the Red T Shirt so they would be seen on the Beach. On top of the T Shirt each was issued with a whistle, plus one had a set of Binoculars. When the children went into the sea two Coaches would stand in the sea and no one allowed past them sometimes there could be up to 70 kids our ratio of Coach to children was 7-1. Although we had hundreds of Children attending the Camp over the years the strain on the organisers was too much with the worry something could happen

Those who were on the Course will remember name like Dave Boulding, John Harris, Brenda Jones, Tony Benchley, Paul Sargent, Dave Jordan these some of the regulars turning up every years. The Camp attracted people from over GB also Holland, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Russia, Japan, USA and Canada great Day great memories

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