Seeing as the summer holidays are now officially well under way (hooray!), we thought we’d celebrate with a nod to the Kaye Webb Archive – delving into a Puffin Club Holiday.

Fifty years ago to the day, from the 24th to 28th July 1967, five lucky Puffin Club competition winners (the Puffineers) were returning from a holiday to Lundy Island in the hope of seeing some real puffins. The children were hosted by Kaye Webb, Editor of Puffin, and the trip was one of many for the Puffin Club – our archive also contains reviews of a later holiday, with some interesting highlights (check out Michael Sherriff’s entry below).

'P'Super Spree!' Puffin leaflet designed by Barry Bucknell, built by Polycell Prout (KW/07/04/05/12) 
Photograph © Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books

Diaries and letters reveal how in true British holiday tradition, the Lundy trip didn’t go quite according to plan. Weather, travel and activity mishaps – the Puffin Club’s holiday had them all.

Items from the Kaye Webb Archive,  'Lundy Island Trip' series (KW/07/04/05/12, KW/07/04/05/11, KW/07/04/05/10, KW/07/04/05/06) 
Photograph © Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books

Day One
After decorating the car in Puffin cut-outs and transfers, the prize-winners (including Sheila Hill, Andrew Riley, Joanna Low, Caroline Bennett) travelled with Kaye Webb to Sir Allen Lane’s house (one of the founders of Penguin books). British summer luck first struck when a lamb chop and sausage barbecue was sadly cut short by rain.

Day Two
Kaye Webb woke everyone up at 5am for a small breakfast, after which they set off in two cars and planned to meet up again at Stonehenge. Unfortunately, and in classic holiday style, Stonehenge was closed, so they set off again, but were soon hindered by a small car accident, as one car skidded into a bank. A little shaken, they went to Taunton for a small break and recuperation, but a few of the children couldn’t eat because they felt car-sick. Next in the Puffin mishaps, they missed the ferry from Ilfracombe due to heavy traffic – they’d have to wait another night to get to Lundy, so passed their evening writing postcards, exploring and going to see a play.

'Diary of Events: Lundy' written by Sheila Hill (KW/07/04/05/10) 
Photograph © Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books

Day Three
After finding an obliging boat owner they made their way to Lundy with the warning of a “rough-crossing”. The children enjoyed the spray on the crossing, although Sheila writes that “Caroline and Andrew had turned a decisive lime-green”. They arrived drenched and queezy, and were taken up to the hotel with their luggage via tractor. In the afternoon they finally had their puffin sightings – flying, gliding on the water and standing on the rocks, which they were thrilled with. In the evening, the children were shown the lighthouse and allowed in the local pub, The Tavern (as Sheila writes, they were allowed to do so because “there are no laws or policemen on the island”). After several games of table tennis the children were put to bed before the adults return to the pub.

'Diary of Events: Lundy' written by Sheila Hill (KW/07/04/05/10) 
Photograph © Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books

Day Four
Wednesday brought postcards and souvenirs, long wet walks and birdwatching. But soon it was time to go and they returned on a steamer. The return journey may have a familiar ring for many: “We peered out of a porthole for a while, but it was so dull that everyone went to the restaurant...” Back on land, the children were interviewed by the BBC about their holiday!

Day Five
The next day they were taken to Penguin, being shown the offices and warehouse “where there were literally millions of books. (27 million, I think!)”.

Despite its mishaps, the Puffineers seem to have thoroughly enjoyed the Lundy visit – as Andrew writes in his diary, “a really psuper holiday”. Sheila was even persuaded to write a poem about Lundy for Kaye!

Andrew Riley Diary Pages (KW/07/04/05/10) 
Photograph © Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books

We hope you enjoy your summer adventures as much as the Puffineers!

If you’d like to find out more about the Seven Stories Collections, you can browse our catalogue, explore our archives online, email us via or leave a comment below!