Climping Camp Memories

Climping is a village on the south coast of England near Littlehampton. It must have been before I went to college so maybe I was about 17 that I volunteered to be a junior leader in a Christian children’s camp there. The camp was held every year and was run by an evangelist from, I think, the brethren movement. We had to call him “Commy” and his side kick “Adjy”. I have a few memories so I checked out on-line maps to see if I could recognise the site.

I am pretty sure it was held in that small triangular field I have highlighted. The round, boy-scout type tents were in a line down the left hand side. The tent I was assigned to was towards the bottom.
There is a farm building at top right and this is where meals were served and meetings held. I think the camp was boys only but the cook was an older woman, maybe recruited from a local church.

Each tent was home to maybe eight boys including a “leader” and “junior leader”. Soon after the camp started Commy took me aside and told me my leader had been sent home for some indiscretion so I was now in charge of my tent-full. I could only guess what he had done wrong. Promoted meant making sure none of my minions got lost, comforting the home-sick, leading prayers at bedtime. One of my lot had this thing of having to count all his toes before going to sleep, I suppose to make sure they were all there. This was a ritual which he carried out in full view of all of us which caused some amusement.

We each were responsible for our own plate and cutlery and had a cubby hole to keep them in. Until caught, one boy avoided unnecessary work by returning his utensils unwashed to his cubby hole – after all it was only his own germs. Based on his example I now often make an office tea mug last many days between washes.

I remember there was a short walk between farm fields and over a small stream to get to the beach and this memory also supports my supposed site.

So then I wondered who the evangelist was (we only knew him as “Commy”) and have found some references to a likely candidate in a David Iliffe who died recently.