Whilst mowing the lawn one day in 2019, Donald Macdonald came up with a slogan inspired by the Campaign for Real Ales and his own desire to be able to explore the UK in his motorhome the way he could in France using Aires. A dream was born… or rather the Campaign for Real Aires was created.
Starting as a small Facebook group only intended for Scotland where he lives, it quickly gathered a couple of hundred members and then did nothing. That is, until during Lockdown, Roy Goring decided to share it across a selection of other Motorhoming groups in July 2020. It went viral… if that’s the correct expression to use during Lockdown! Quickly membership soared until three months later we had over 13,000 members across the UK and counting (current total is top right of Home Page).
In May 2021 we decided to formalise our organisation and created CAMpRA UK Ltd, a Not For Profit, Company Limited by Guarantee. This enabled us to have more clout with Government, Councils, Companies etc.
We are now Stakeholder Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Holiday Parks and Campsites.
Advisors to British Parking Association, Camping & Caravanning Club.
- Search for Sites
- Motorhome Fun
- Camping Car Parks
- Aire Stop
- Revolution Laundries
- Motorhome Caravanners Club
- Campervans and Motorhomes Against Litter
- Cumbria Coastal Route
- Snowdonia 360
- Van life Matters
Articles published in
- Motorcaravan Motorhome Monthly
- Motorhome Caravanners Club Magazine
- British Parking Association Magazine
- Silver travel advisor Magazine
- Tourism Management Magazine
- Bowls International Magazine
- National Caravan Council
- VanLife Matters Magazine
- Devon Live
There are six Directors and eleven Members who make up the Leadership Team, and we meet every week via Zoom.
None of the Directors or Members are allowed to make financial advantage from CAMpRA UK Ltd.
So, what galvanised CAMpRA? – Was it a plan?
No, it was the idea of NOT having a plan. To be able to hit the road, follow the sunshine, stop on a whim and stay the night at an unexpected destination are the things that motivate members.
The Campaign for Real Aires works to support and encourage Motorcaravaners to lift that most powerful of weapons in the fight for Aires – the pen. Writing to newspapers, MPs, MSPs, Council Leaders and Officers – and identifying partners who can benefit from having visitors being able to park in their Motorhomes and stay overnight.
Only when we have a network of Aire-style facilities across the UK will people be able to staycation safe in the knowledge they have somewhere safe and hospitable to park-up. Once this is achieved, we can raise a glass in celebration – maybe not a real ale… but certainly to a Real Aire.
Our Leadership Group
We are a volunteer organisation led by a Leadership Group, shown below which consists of the Directors and the Leadership Team Members. All the Leadership Group give their time for free and meet ‘virtually’ on Monday evenings to progress leads, develop working partnerships, continue to grow and refine the business and most importantly increase the number of Aires in the UK.
If you would like to contact us please use our contact form. Someone will get back to you as soon as possible.
My first overnight sleeping experience was stealth camping in a Renault Espace across the north of France, but I knew that if I want my wife and family to accompany me, I’d need a shower and toilet. So, in 2016 I bought a 25 year old Talbot Express and headed for the Vendee.
After spending 20 years as a Circulation manager for a national newspaper followed by a decade as a primary school teacher, I now run my own company teaching parents how to teach their children to ride a bicycle.
As well as being the Founder I’m also a Director and take an active role in the day to day running of the business. CAMpRA has grown from strength to strength and that is down to hard work by the Directors, the Leadership Team, our dedicated volunteers and Facebook group members.
I was a caravan owner for over 40 years and we moved to a motorcaravan 4 years ago as we wanted to tour in our retirement and to leave at a moment’s notice. Having toured France and Spain on a 12 week 4500 mile trip to see if we could survive in a 6m van conversion we realised the freedom to tour was for us.
My experience relevant to this campaign comes from my work as a service manager and contract manager which involved writing reports, interpreting data and reading and writing contracts.
My role as MD is to have overall responsibility for the day to day running and long term strategy of the Company.
I’m fairly new to motorcaravaning, buying our first second hand motorcaravan on 3rd March 2020, yes, three weeks before lockdown. Since then we have been away as much as possible, including a four week tour of Scotland in 2020, and a three week tour of South Wales in 2021.
I spent 30 years as a Fireman, retiring in 2004. Since then I have worked in IT for corporations, fixing computers etc. In 2014 I decided to go out on my own, and have never looked back.
My main role in the Leadership Team, other than to chair the meetings, is to look after all the IT Infrastructure including the hosting of the website and forum.
Since first taking a tent to Morocco via France and Spain in 1972 I have travelled all over Europe. First with a tent then a caravan and latterly in my motorhome.
I have been an active member of the Camping and Caravanning Club, running many rallies and meets.
I joined CAMpRA not long after Donald (no relation) started the campaign.
Having had VW vans for many years, in 2007, when my husband retired the first time, we decided to buy our first proper campervan.. We’ve been all over Europe and had several extended holidays usually spending around 130 nights per year away in the van, summer and winter.
After 40 years of working in financial roles, both in public and private organisations, I set up my own bookkeeping company in 2012 and now look after the bookkeeping for a variety of companies.
Over 15 years’ experience of travel throughout Europe in a Chausson Motorcaravan as well as in our VW T4 Auto Sleeper and self built/converted Kangoo Camping Car!
I’m a Retired Senior Fisheries Enforcement Officer for The Environment Agency where I worked closely with many public services such as the Courts, Police and Parliamentary bodies.
As well as my role on the Board of Directors I look after the North East Team of CAMpRA
Leadership Team Members
Having camped with our children we purchased a motorcaravan 8 years ago, which has allowed us to holiday with our 2 standard poodles, as well as take our grandchildren with us. It has enabled us to get out and about despite a hidden disability.
I am a semi-retired primary teacher & foster carer and my skills are not just limited to organisation and planning
As a Leadership Team Member for the North I work with organisations helping to create aires as well as assisting with public relations and fund raising.
After retirement my wife and I spent 14 years travelling Europe in a 100 year old Dutch Barge. I was an active member in the Dutch Barge Association and negotiated with French Communes and Mairies to establish winter moorings for large craft. We moved to motorcaravans and have spent the last 8 years travelling Europe by motorcaravan becoming familiar with Aires in their many manifestations in some 20 European Countries.
I am a retired architect and health facilities planner who has planned, designed, and managed projects and prepared business cases for major hospitals at home, in Europe and around the world.
I advise on the development of Aires.
Having retired in the early 1990s, I have spent much of the intervening time travelling in my LHD French motorhome in Spain and Portugal but predominantly in France.
An ex-Senior Retail banker I have experience not only in finance but in Marketing and general business management having also been General Manager of an Enterprise Centre and Company Director & General Manager of a soft drinks manufacturing business.
I have been a motorcaravan owner on and off since 1978. We are fortunate in having had the opportunity to take several long term motorhome trips including travelling through most of Europe, Turkey, North Africa, Scandinavia, and Central Asia.
My background is in marine engineering, I ran my own inland waterways boat repair business for around 25 years before fully retiring in 2016. In 2000 I started the motorhome information website www.ukmotorhomes.net.
Ian & Jill Curtis
A former business analyst for British Gas, my wife Jill and I have been motorhoming now for over 10 years and have always enjoyed the freedom a motorhome can bring and we can usually be found touring Europe.
We now own and run the Search for Sites website and app - www.searchforsites.co.uk - which aims to make it easy to find the best stopovers and campsites across the UK and Europe and are delighted to be CAMpRA partners and we list all of the new CAMpRA Accredited Aires.
We had been tenting and caravaning for years when our French friend persuaded us to try motorcaravaning. My Husband and I have been enjoying touring holidays since 2012 and more recently taking extended trips managing 3 months away at a time in spring and autumn.
Managed to retire early having spent many years in IT including systems and infrastructure management, service delivery and service desk support, and consultancy.
As a Leadership Team Member I predominantly work in the background on the the business systems and wherever my skills are required.
Married for 47+ years, we started holidaying in a three foot high tent. When children came along we did Gites in France then Canvas Holidays. Eighteen years in caravans and for the last 12 years, a motorcaravan. We‘ve toured all over mainland Europe from Montenegro in the south to Sweden in the north and the Russian border in the east.
Retired now after a career in insurance, 18 years as a Claims Manager.
I started tent camping with my husband, two teenagers and a toddler over 20 years ago. Progressing to a trailer tent, then a large touring caravan. Now it’s just the two of us, plus a couple of dogs, we took the plunge and got our first motorcaravan in March 2020, two weeks before COVID lockdown !
We manage to fit as many short touring breaks in around our work commitments as possible, but we are hatching a plan to go full time in our van for a few years.
As a Researcher for CAMpRA I work for the Leadership Team on national CAMpRA projects as well as supporting the creation of new Aires in the Lincolnshire area .