Makeover takes Hayling Island camp back to glory days

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MORE than £1m has been invested in an historic holiday resort which was hours from going under.

Mill Rythe Holiday Village on Hayling Island is one of the original English holiday camps and even provided some of the back drop to the popular BBC comedy series, Hi–de–Hi!

It first opened it’s doors as the Sunshine Holiday Camp 70–years–ago and was taken over by the Royal Marines during the war.

Several years ago the cast of EastEnders decamped to the island to film a special and a number of scenes were shot at Mill Rythe.

But the former owners went into administration and the bank was 48 hours away from closing it for good when Carl Castledine from Away Resorts put in an offer last September.

It needed heavy investment to bring it into the 21st Century which Mr Castledine has done.

It is the latest resort on the island to receive a face lift and millions of pounds has been invested in tourism on Hayling the past year.

Mr Castledine said: ‘There’s a real heritage to Hayling, a real nostalgia.

‘I knew Mill Rythe from when I worked for Haven and Warners and when I heard it was going to close we had 48 hours to make sure it stayed open.

‘For us there were so many reasons to invest in Hayling Island. It’s beautiful, the whole area is historic. It’s just down the road from the Historic Dockyard, the Royal Marine Museum and the D Day Museum.

‘And it’s close to, Southsea, which is lovely, Winchester, and the New Forest.

‘But it was tricky knowing where to start as the park needed so much investment to make it a modern holiday park for all the family.

‘We set about working on the infrastructure and drafting in a top entertainments team to look at putting together a timetable of weekenders for 2011 in order to start returning the park to its glory days.’

Councillor Andy Lenaghan represents Hayling on Havant Borough Council.

He said: ‘Mill Rythe is a very nice site but it badly needed doing up and it’s not the only one.

‘What was Higworth Caravan Park has had a few million pounds spent on it recently. Sinah Warren has had considerable investment as has Lakeside and I’m obviously delighted.

‘It all helps secure Hayling’s future as a tourist destination and I’m delighted.’