My (now) famous wife Lynda, been inundated with media requests over the past few weeks for comment, interviews (radio and TV) on the topic of ‘Champing’. Never heard of it? With the new focus on ‘staycations’ (holidaying closer to home), people are looking for new holiday experiences that do not require paying extortionate rates for holiday cottage, or worrying about having to quarantine and having to undergo frequent (and potentially expensive) Covid PCR test or Lateral Flow Tests. Hence the media interest in bringing Champing to the attention of the vacationing public.
Champing was originally introduced in 2014 by the Churches Conservation Trust, a registered charity that looks after redundant churches. It was a way of raising funds to preserve and maintain these historical buildings, and provide heritage for future generations. I think even they will have been surprised by the recent popularity of this unique form of camping, fuelled by the present uncertainties of travelling abroad. Lynda Dale, who is Chair of the Friends Group for St Mary’s Church, Stansted and facilitates Champing at St Mary’s, was caught unawares when asked to do an interview for the Sunday Observer, followed the week after by the Sunday Times, followed the week after by a live interview on BBC Radio Essex. But perhaps the strangest media event was when a crew from Russian TV turned up at the church to do an interview and filmed the church as it would be set up for Champing guests. We understand this will be broadcast to an audience of around 150 million on Russian TV, so maybe we’ll have some Russian guests booking very soon!
I’m not on any commission for this, but if you would like to try Champing for yourself, your family and/or your pets (dogs welcome) you can book on the Champing website. You will be made very welcome and you’ll be making a small contribution to the future heritage of our historic churches.