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About Surrey D.A.

The Camping Club as it was originally named, was formed in 1901 by a group of adventurous, outdoor loving folk, who yearned for the peace and tranquility of living in the countryside. As membership grew it became obvious, there was a need to form smaller local groups, to cater for the ever increasing numbers of like minded folk getting away at the weekend.

The Surrey D.A. was formed March 1921, by Secretary pro tem Cdr D.B.L. Hopkins, RN, MVO. The first meet of the Surrey D.A. was held at Elliots Farm, Box Hill, on the 2nd-4th April 1921. Mr P. Surrey-White was elected secretary and Cdr Hopkins was appointed President.

Monthly notes in 'Camping' included an amusing comment in the form of a ‘request’ that all those members who camped at Enticknap's Farm, who forgot to pay their fees, please do so in order to prevent the good name of the Surrey D.A. being sullied!!

Around January 1927, Red Hand direction signs were first introduced to guide members to the ever increasing and diverse camping site locations.

Cdr Hopkins was one of the early pioneers of the Camping Club and it was he who coined the title 'Feast of Lanterns' which replaced the term ‘Annual Bonfire'. The very first F.O.L was held at Deepdene, Dorking, June 1921. By 1922 this event had been renamed The National Feast of Lanterns and was held, again in Surrey but this time at Walton-on-Thames, a venue that was owned and operated, by the Club, as a ‘Club Site’ from 19132.

Surrey D.A. originally boasted a ‘Dorking Cockerel’ as its emblem, chosen because the inaugural meet was held close by at Elliott's Farm, Boxhill. The Dorking Cockerel is a very strikingly plumed, five toed chicken, thought to have been introduced by the Romans during their occupation of this area of Britain. The Club archives include the Surrey’s First Edition Pennon, which sub-titles the Cockerel emblem as a “Surrey Fowl”2

Just like all organisations The Camping and Caravanning Club needs a set of common sense Rules to ensure everyone has an enjoyable experience when Camping in the great  outdoors - Please follow this link to view our Good Camping Guidelines.

More information about the Camping and Caravanning Club can be found by following the link to: The Camping and Caravanning Club’s Website.

Compiled by David Croney

2updated March 2021

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