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Volunteer reports on her Camping At The Games experience

Hilary Orr, married Mum of 3 talks about her Gamesmaker experience in this article: Happy Camping! The Gamesmaker Campsite

She talks extensively about her experiences at our Eton Manor campsite….

“Because I had recently been made redundant, I was on a budget and this totally reflected where I was able to stay; even the most basic hotel prices were out of my league. Through joining a Games Maker forum I found the Eton Manor Rugby Club who, via “Camping at the Games”, were offering camping for £10 a night (bargain!). I set up a Facebook page, and soon had in excess of 48 members who were to be camping at Eton Manor Rugby Club in Wanstead! We set up camp together and even had our very own ‘village hall’. We had all our shift rotas hung inside the village hall, so we could see who was off on a particular day and pal up together, we enjoyed meals out, visits to the theatre, museums etc.

I had been given a folding bike from a friend and I sprayed it red, white and blue and brought it with me to London. It fondly became known as ‘camp-bike’, and I used it to travel to Wanstead tube, but more importantly for my daily shower/toilet trips, when usually I would be dressed in wellies, dressing gown and pyjamas!

I thoroughly enjoyed the camping, and in some respects just as much as completing my Olympic role. It was like having a ‘family’ while living in London; the rugby club staff were utterly fantastic, they started serving breakfast as early as 6am (to catch those on an early shift) and served alcohol into the early hours (to catch the late finishers)!

I recently attended the Team GB parade in London, and despite not being offered a place on the Mall, I stood proudly with my camping Games Maker friends and the public and screamed and cheered at the spectacular athletes as they passed us by parading the medals.

To coin a phrase, I had the time of my life in London this summer, and feel so honoured and proud to have been a part of it. I have had experiences and made friendships that will last a lifetime.”

5000 campers, 34 nations and 9 fabulous campsites – Camping at the Games did it!


International Visitors

Campingninja saw over 5,000 campers utilise our pop up campsites this summer and having seen the staggering increase in hotel prices it wasn’t just the British who caught the bug! Campers hailing from an incredible 34 countries chose to stay with Campingninja, giving each site a real international flavor. Many of these visitors had never even camped before but loved it so aside from hosting thousands of visitors we hope we have inspired a new generation of campers!

One of Campingninja’s key objectives for the project was to leave a legacy for British sport at the grass roots. 75% of the camping fees raised will go back into the sports clubs which were transformed into temporary campsites, and the additional trade from thirsty campers in the evenings will also go along way!

One of the busiest sites was Blackheath Rugby Club, only a short distance from Greenwich Park, one of the world’s oldest rugby clubs did a fantastic job at hosting around 1,000 campers. Mark Fiander, Project Manager, comments;

Opportunities like this don’t come around often for our club or some of the local suppliers involved. Our volunteers have had a great time meeting so many new faces this summer, the campers have been excellent and so much fun! The funds we have raised will be a real help in supporting even the day to day running of the club as well as the future projects we hope to run for our developing teams. We simply could not have done this without Campingninja.”

At Campingninja we hope to continue connecting thousands of people to the great outdoors and make camping a great option at more events across the country. Geoff Vaughan, Co-Founder of Campingninja comments:

‘We were told so many times this summer that our sites had a great community atmosphere as well as being hugely affordable. The highlight for me was having campers from across the spectrum. We had a fantastic group of Olympic Gamesmakers who were camping for the very first time! After such a successful 2012 we will be expanding our Events Operation and bringing it to other sporting and music events around the country, continuing to make camping a great option for both members of the public and work contractors.”

Thank you to everyone involved in Camping at the Games, from the campers, campsites to all the local suppliers we couldn’t have done it without you!


The Campingninja Team


Ahead of your Paralympic booking, see if these tip-top reviews of Blackheath RFC send you camping crazy!

Mark and the guys at Blackheath RFC really pulled the stops out over the Olympic period; having never run a campsite on this scale before they excelled themselves in their attentiveness to all you happy campers, and their willingness to help. The bar proved to be a valuable asset, providing a welcome place of rest for weary Games Makers returning from a hard day at the Olympic Venues!

Willem & Tineke Verwejj, Gouda, The Netherlands – Blackheath

On Saturday the 4th August we decided to come to London. Having the Games this nearby was an opportunity we couldn’t resist. Since the hotels had discount prices which we still found to be a lot of money we looked for a campground near London and found this Campingninja site. This, together with the warm welcome (and showers), clean toilets and a bar made it a wonderful stay. Very well done! And off course we also enjoyed the Games!

Pat Lewis, Sheffield,UK- Blackheath
Our stay in a pre-erected tent helped make our trip to the Olympics.There was a great atmosphere,a great mix of people from many countries,the organisation and the organisors were both top notch.My thanks and congratulations!!

Niki, Plymouth
We stayed at Blackheath for 10 days. We had a fantastic time. The atmosphere was amazing particularly in the bar when team GB were competing! The facilities were good and the staff were amazing. What a great experience.


Natalie, Lancashire
What a great idea to use a rugby club for a campsite, all the facilities you need- showers, toilets, bar, shop around the corner. Staff were really helpful advising which trains etc to get (2 stops to Blackheath then 10min walk to Greenwich Park).  Most other campers were Games Maker volunteers, they worked long days so everyone was in bed early.
Glad we chose to camp!

Kate, Southampton, Hampshire
I was a Games Maker and camped at Blackheath Rugby Club for the whole duration of the Games. I was very happy with all the arrangements, particularly the dedication of the 24 hour security team – it must have been very lonely at the dead of night! I was also very impressed with the speed with which Ryan, the barman, remembered what I drank – the bar was very, very busy most of the time!

If this tempts you to go and join in the fun, just click on either of the pictures and you will be redirected to the booking form for Blackheath RFC. Good facilities, good atmosphere and fantastic customer service sets this site apart, with fantastic access to Greenwich and the ExCel Centre it is not to be missed.

Ahead of your Paralympic booking, this is what our other campers had to say about Eton Manor RFC…


Eton Manor- widely acclaimed Olympic campsite, has found that Camping at the Games was such a great success that the doors will now be open for the Paralympic period as well. Before making your booking, take a look below at some of the reasons why…

Happy Camper, Bournemouth – Eton Manor

Gold Medal to Eton Manor , a fabulous location and friendly group of people. Food good and showers hot! We spent 2 nights at the campsite which was in a perfect location for the Olympics. Great to mingle with fellow spectators and Games Makers alike whilst watching the action on the big screens.

Lynne, Wirral – Eton Manor

We are not a family of campers so it was great that the tent was already erected and set up for us as soon as was arrived, the friendliness and assistance was first class, the breakfast was lovely and made a great start to our day.

Big Thank You

David, Barlaston, Stoke on Trent – Eton Manor

What fantastic staff, they worked with the same enthusiasm as the Games Makers and should be given the full uniforms in recognition. From being welcomed on the site to 24 hour security to breakfast from 6.00am, the whole staff from grass roots up were a credit to London.

Pat, Sheffield, UK – Eton Manor

Our stay in a pre-erected tent helped make our trip to the Olympics. There was a great atmosphere, a great mix of people from many countries , the organisation and the organisers were both top notch. My thanks and congratulations!!

Rachel, Norwich – Eton Manor

Can’t express enough how brilliant those running the site were. This was a brilliant place to stay if you are a Games Maker because it is so close to the Olympic park. They provide a much needed breakfast for a small cost, and the same with dinner. Kept clean and tidy, with friendly staff around at all times including all night. Would definitely recommend for the Paralympics!

So there you have it, Games Makers, families and general ticket holders alike felt welcomed and valued at Eton Manor, whilst the nosh wasn’t too bad either! Get down there and become part of the enthusiasm and care that only comes with local, grass roots sports clubs.

Touring our Olympic Campsites

Rings of Fire

Since Danny Boyle’s widely acclaimed ceremony kicked off The London 2012 Olympic Games, we at CampingNinja have been touring the London and Weymouth campsites that Games Makers and ticket holders from all over Great Britain are calling home for the next couple of weeks. We have already experienced Weymouth College, Eton Manor RFC and Blackheath RFC, and what a tour it has been! We have met some amazing volunteers, giving so much of their time and effort to make sure we can enjoy the summer games, and not only that but they are doing it all with a smile on their faces; many enthusiastic ticket holders soaking up the atmosphere not only in the Olympic Park, but also in our clubhouses; and even a few athletes turned up to see what we are all about! Before the end of the week we will have stopped off at Match Day Centres, and stayed at Eton Manor… Again… Because we just can’t get enough of the fantastic atmosphere there!

Here is the verdict on some of the campsites we visited this week…


Happy Campers in the Eton Manor Clubhouse

Eton Manor

At Eton Manor we teamed up with BBC Radio 5 Live, who broadcast their live show direct from our campsite, they chatted with campers, ninjas, and anybody who was up for joining in the fun! Even 2 time Olympian, and gold medal winner Marlon Devonish joined us for the show and it was fantastic to see the support we have gained through Camping at the Games.

Even better news for you happy campers eager to grab a space: 40 pitches have been opened up at Eton Manor for the duration of the Games, so get booking before they run out!

Here is what one happy campers made of Eton Manor:

Barbora Kubickova, Czech Republic

‘It was a great experience with Campingninja during the games. Staff were very helpful and nice. I will be in the UK again, and I will be camping only with you :)


Blackheath RFC Camping Ground- Flying the Ninja Flag


When we headed over to Blackheath RFC we ran into some ecstatic campers returning from the equestrian and gymnastic events, riding on the wave of a silver and bronze medal respectively for Team GB! It was great to see this enthusiasm and it was clear to what degree everybody at Blackheath were throwing themselves behind our amazing athletes, although I shudder to think what the reaction would have been to the women’s pair winning gold this morning!

One happy camper had this to say about Blackheath:

Pat Lewis, Sheffield,UK

‘Our stay in a pre-erected tent helped make our trip to the Olympics. There was a great atmosphere, a great mix of people from many countries, and the organisation, and organisers were both top notch. My thanks and congratulations!!’


Weymouth Beach- Battle for the Winds


The Battle for the Winds is a unique series of events marking the opening celebrations of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Sailing events, culminating in three unforgettable days of outdoor performance at Weymouth and Portland (26-28 July). Battle for the WInds tells the story of an heroic quest to free the winds for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Sailing events, will they succeed? You will have to get down to Weymouth to find out.

P.Singleton, Salisbury

‘We had a great time camping, superb location, 10 min walk to the beach, well organised, helpful staff, very good breakfast in college canteen’