Statement: David Welsford, Director General of The Camping and Caravanning Club
It is with great regret that The Camping and Caravanning Club announces the death of David Welsford, Director General on 8 November after a protracted illness.
David led The Club for 12 years, through the greatest sustained period of growth in its 106-year history. The strength of The Club today owes much to his diplomacy and skill.
During his term in office, membership of The Club has risen from 260,000 to more than 440,000, its turnover has increased three-fold and the number of Club Sites available to members has grown from 80 to more than 100.
David has also lead The Club to greater financial prosperity with turnover rising from £10m to £41m. As a not-for-profit organisation this has enabled The Club to put money back into camp sites across the UK from which members and non-members alike can derive so much pleasure. Over £50m has been spent on the acquisition and redevelopment of camp sites adding over 20 to an ever increasing network which now exceeds 100 award-winning Club Sites.
One of David’s most significant achievements was the successful creation of the joint venture between The Club and The Forestry Commission to operate 21 Camping and Caravanning Sites and 3 Cabin Sites. Forest Holidays took nearly two years of negotiations and became the first ever Private Finance Initiative between a government body and a not-for-profit organisation.
With increased popularity of camping, David too saw the need to establish more camp site pitches. Franchising has brought 10 new camp sites to The Club’s network in just 4 years.
Rural sustainability was a cause close to David’s heart and he oversaw The Club’s increased involvement in this area. During the Foot and Mouth outbreak in 2001 he led the campaign to encourage members to continue camping and caravanning and support rural business. He was also instrumental in The Club’s Eat Local campaign from its beginning in 2003.
David’s commitment to The Club and its members was reflected in the energy he gave to many related lobby groups. He was secretary of the Leisure Sector Vehicle Crime Reduction Action Team. This Home Office sponsored body has enabled a 50 per cent reduction in caravan thefts over the past three years, much of this only possible because of David’s help and initiatives.
As a member of the board of the Heart of England Tourist Board he worked to increase and improve tourism across the Midlands.
David was also committed to supporting all those who worked for The Club. Over 600 staff are now employed, 180 in Coventry at its headquarters and almost 500 staff on camp sites throughout the UK, proving a significant increase over the last 10 years. In 2004 Investor in People accreditation was gained and then successfully continued this year.
David’s door was always open whether work related or just to talk about his favourite past time, golf – he will be missed by everyone who he worked with and by those he met along the way.
David leaves a partner, Lis Oldis.
David Welsford: 10/06/1949 – 08/11/2007.
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Notes to the Editor
1. Details of the funeral arrangements will be released shortly. If you would like any further details or pictures please speak with the above.