We were relatively new to caravanning when we decided to join The Masonic Caravan Club South West. Our main goal was to encourage us to get out in the caravan more. When we arrived at our first rally, I was a little hesitant, but as we pulled into the entrance of the site we were welcomed by the rally organisers. They helped us pitch up, gave us some time and space to get set up, then came over to explain the plans for the extended weekend break.

The Masonic Caravan Club South West

Running, typically, from Thursday to Monday, most members arrive throughout the first two days of the rally and join in as they can. At the formal meet and greet, the Chairman introduced us to the group along with the other new members. He then went into more detail regarding the plans for the weekend. There was no pressure to get involved with the activities, which left us to mix with the group as we pleased. As we settled in, we joined in with American Suppers, BBQs, Bingo and other activities, quickly building our comfort within the group.

Amazingly, our daughter did, and still does, well in the raffle and always looks forward to seeing the other members every time we attend. We also enjoy catching up with good friends that we've made along the way. We don’t take our dog, but well-behaved dogs are welcome to join in the fun and a few do – we have also had a couple of tortoises join us in the past!

We have enjoyed four fantastic trips throughout 2016. Highlights of which included a return to Cofton Holiday Park in Dawlish, Devon; a trip for several of us on the West Somerset Railway while staying in Fiddington, Somerset; a wonderful and relaxing time in Charmouth, Dorset; and, completely by chance, we bumped into some members of the Masonic Classic Car Club while staying in Tencreek, Cornwall.

This coming year the club have rallies planned at Broadleigh Farm, Devon; Little Bodieve, Cornwall; Birchwood, Dorset; and Brean Sands, Somerset. Each organised by the County Rally Organiser, they will include social gatherings, Sunday roasts, BBQs, Bingo and, if possible, the option to attend an organised day trip. Or, of course, you can join forces with other Brothers and their families to organise something else.

Masons of all ages and their families – including those from two weeks old(!) and beyond – are welcome to join us; even if you're not keen on the rally idea (they're not like they used to be). We aim to provide level-ish pitches when we can, and we always ensure there is the use of an amenities block; also making sure to include electric hook-up for everyone. We also aim to arrange some local public transport, so those travelling in motorhomes don't have to pack up every time they want to go out and explore.

We have a strong membership from within the four counties and further afield, always welcoming more. So, if you'd like to become a member (even if you aren't in the South West) be sure to make contact with us via our website: www.mccsw.club
David Hodson-Whittle