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The Golden Jubilee 1952-2002

It's our working jubilee too!

Val Proudfoot
Les Henry
David Conn
Jim Kerr
Jack Shirvell
Tom Griffith
Lesley Eke
Audrey Hawkin
Dai Owen
Jim Dade
Sadie Jefferson
James Finlay
Tom Griffith
Over the past fifty years, Tom Griffith has made friends with people from all over the country.

He runs a caravan park on his farm in the village of Waun Fawr, near Caernarfon in North Wales.

People come here to enjoy the spectacular scenery of Snowdonia, and many of those who park their caravans in Tom's field are repeat visitors.

During the Jubilee weekend, the site will be full. Tom has been apologetically declining bookings for several days.

Business is brisk at Tom's caravan park
He is a fifth generation farmer, and the caravan park grew out of his agricultural business.

"It started fifty years ago as a bit of a sideline," he recalls.

"It was intended to provide some pin money, because the farm income wasn't very good then.

"Now the caravan business is taking over. There are lots of people coming here, because they want to walk the hills.

"You can't cope with it now, especially on bank holidays. People seem to be enjoying the freedom of the countryside more and more."

So for Tom, the sideline has turned into a good business. The money from his sheep tends to come in at the end of the year, so the steady income from the caravan site, through the Spring and Summer, helps to balance the books.

The farm has seen some lean times over the years, and the foot-and-mouth epidemic meant Tom was unable to send his lambs to market last year.

Over the past fifty years, Tom has seen many changes in the tourism business. Many people now have cars and think nothing of travelling long distances.

Today his visitors come from all over Britain, with a significant number from Holland, France and Germany.

They are also more demanding these days. They expect modern amenities, and even people who pitch a tent in his field are looking for an electrical power point.

It is hard work looking after the site and making sure everything runs smoothly. And at 76, Tom recognises that he is getting older.

"I'm doing less work now," he says.

"I answer the telephone and take bookings, welcome people here, and recommend walks for them.

"At one time, when I started, people wanted to know where the nearest beach was, but that's changed now. They want to know where they can walk…they want to enjoy the freedom of the hills."

Tom says it is difficult to find reliable workers these days, as young people tend to keep one eye on the clock. He thinks he is lucky to have a good work force.

But even after doing the same job for fifty years, Tom says he never gets tired of the work.

"I meet lots of interesting people, and make lots of new friends, so I don't get bored.

"I am 76, so I am well past retirement age. But I am still going strong and I have no thoughts of giving it up.

"I will be working until my last breath!"

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