Who was Douglas King?
Doug King was born in Northern Ireland in 1935 to an Irish mother and English father. He first caravanned at the age of 19 and he hated it.
Shortly afterwards Doug moved to Hertfordshire with his parents and joined the family’s building business where he acquired many practical skills. After a while he left to start a new career in marketing and advertising.
On a long drive to Bournemouth with a work colleague, they got stuck behind a caravan. Doug’s language was choice but his colleague was caravanner and persuaded him to give it another go.
In August 1972 Doug bought a four-berth Sprite Major for £350. It proved ideal for Doug and his wife Brenda and their two young children. Doug joined the Caravan Club that year and went on to become one of the Club’s longest serving members.
Doug caravanned throughout the UK and Europe before retiring as an advertising executive to take up a new career in caravan journalism. He loved working with his hands and spent many hours upgrading old caravans with new kit before writing about it.
He became a regular contributor to the industry’s leading magazines and had a forthright writing style that won him many fans. Eventually they christened him ‘Doug, Mr Fixit King’ and Practical Caravan had a decal specially made for the back of his caravan.
Doug was very proud to have been voted Best Journalist of the year at the Caravan Club Media Awards in both 1997 and 2007.
He was a long-standing member of the Caravan Writers’ Guild serving as both chairman, and secretary, the post he held at the time of his death.
Doug and Brenda appeared in the Paul O’Grady show in 2008 along with Jackie Collins, Sheryl Crow and Kim Cattrall.
Unknown to Doug the organisers had put an Airstream caravan in the studio. It was perfect for Miss Collins to emerge from and perfect for Doug and Brenda to talk about caravanning. Or so the show organisers thought, but they didn’t reckon on Doug’s opinion of Airstreams!
For some reason he hated them but on live TV he had to be careful. When asked what he thought of the Airstream he looked at it dismissingly and simply said “It’s an American caravan”.
In July 2008 the Daily Express featured Doug in an article headed ‘I’m the Caravan King’. It told the story of how he got into caravanning and why he liked it so much.
The following year (2009) Doug appeared in the BBC documentary ‘Caravans: A British Love Affair’. It told the story of caravanning in Britain from the 1950s to the present day. The programme has been shown many times since.
In retirement Doug and Brenda averaged 70 nights per year away in their caravan. He passed away in April 2014 after a long battle with cancer.