Guest Alan Swallow has been to Potters 50 times, first visiting in 1956 with his parents, and later enjoying breaks with friends and with his own family. We had a chat with Alan to find out about his memories and how much Potters has changed over the years…
Alan, can you tell us about your earliest memory at Potters?
I first came in 1956 with my parents when I was 16. My parents were in a chalet together and I shared one with another boy of a similar age, as they used to put similar ages together if there was an odd number of you in your party. As we stayed a fortnight, I had two different roommates as the first one was only staying a week. Not that we were often in our rooms as there was so much to do! The room was very basic and the showers were in a separate block.
What did you get up to on your first Potters break?
There was a bar and jukebox room, and all the youngsters would go in there. Brian Potter was the same age as me and used to go in there with us all, even though he later said that the red floor in the room used to haunt him! I’ve been to Potters around 50 times and over the years Brian would always stop to have a chat with us. Everyone used to go to the beach as there was no pool back then. Geoff Parsons used to do all the organising and entertaining, and we would have to do forfeits. I remember he would tell us to get girls knickers to put up on a flag pole in the dining room! Geoff would play the accordion and would sort out a sports day, snooker and tennis sessions. In the evening there was a dance band and everyone would dance. We’d always finish with a Potters song too that went something like… “When you’re downhearted and feeling blue, always come to Potters and we’ll show you what we do.”
How has Potters changed over the years?
Quite dramatically as now it is five stars! It used to be open from May to September, then Brian opened it at Easter as a trial, then it was soon Christmas and Summer, then all year round! It is brilliant how it has changed as it is now five-star and so good! The entertainment and food are just fantastic, and are better now than before, and guests are served four meals a day. It used to be afternoon tea though, rather than the midnight dish of the day! We used to help make our own entertainment all them years ago, such as making costumes out of crepe paper, and now we have the fantastic Potters Theatre Company performing shows every night.
Have you got any other memories from over the years?
Well my two boys learnt to swim at Potters and my other two (from my second marriage with Marie) have also been to Potters. Some of my 13 grandchildren have also been to Potters and I’m sure it’s not too long before my great grandchildren come along too. I just remember how Brian Potter was just a very fair man and would always put things right. It was the world cup and the TV in the television room was broken. When Brian found out he asked why no-one had told him, as he said he can’t put it right if no-one tells him. That night he had someone out at 9pm to repair the TV! He would also tell us that if we left the dining room hungry that it was our fault as we could ask for as much food as we wanted! He also put a stop to people reserving tables with their coats and it meant that he ended up shutting the Atlas Theatre at lunchtimes. I have so many happy memories of my time at Potters and it is just a wonderful place. I now enjoy breaks with my wife Marie and come on Midweek or Weekend breaks when we can.
Thanks Alan for sharing your Potters memories with us. It was great to hear about the old Potters song and the days of television rooms and making costumes for competitions.