That’s me in the middle. Aged eight, sat between my dad and grandad.

They would go onto shape so many aspects of my life – one thing I could never escape was their passion for holiday parks.

My grandad was working for Ladbrokes betting shops when he was asked to run one of their holiday parks. He accepted and was soon running what was Britain’s first holiday camp, which opened at Caister in Norfolk in 1906. Originally from a family of miners my dad soon left the Derbyshire collieries behind, followed grandad to Norfolk and spent the next 45 years of his working life devoted to holiday parks.

They have both taught me so many things, but above all, compassion. Caring for people was at the centre of everything they did at the holiday parks they ran. One of my earliest and fondest memories is trundling along on the back of a Bedford van that was being driven by my dad. My mum, one of the many chalet maids, waited for my dad, a blanket boy, (ably assisted by me!) to hand out bedding so they could prepare the accommodation for all the guests that were due to arrive.

I’m the third generation in my family to run a holiday park. So why didn’t I catch the bug immediately? Back then, the most popular TV show was ‘Hi-de-Hi!’ – I wanted nothing to do with that. As an 18 year old, the bright lights of London were calling. Why be at a holiday park when I could have a career working in music and nightclubs? Life on a holiday camp was not for me.

Or so I thought. One summer, desperate for some additional help, my dad persuaded me to return. I did one season and fell in love. I adore everything about holiday parks – all they stand for and all they have to offer. Running a holiday park is a bit like running a town. From sorting essential utilities like waste disposal and the electrical network to creating different accommodation options and fitting out playgrounds; there is no job quite like it.

Things have moved on from ‘Hi-de-Hi!’ The old-school stereotype of holiday parks no longer stands, especially at Away Resorts. Back in the day, kids would be left in their chalets, while parents went out to enjoy the entertainment and staff would patrol the site, listening out for babies crying. That wouldn’t cut it now. We want to provide multi-generational entertainment and create memories for the whole family. Today’s resort experience is much more superior and so is the accommodation. Gone are the days when caravans didn’t have double-glazing, luxe bedding and high-tech TVs. It means families will want to hang out and spend time together.

The day that my grandad died, was a devastating time in my life. But I know he would be intensely proud that compassion is still what drives us, as I continually search for innovative ways to keep the family tradition thriving.

Carl Castledine, CEO.