We find out about best friends Heather Scarbro and Jo Hempsall who both bought park homes at Stone Valley Court, in Waddington, Lincolnshire
It was 43 years ago that Heather Scarbro and best friend Jo Hempsall (née Wilkinson) were training together as nurse cadets at Boston Combined Hospital. Keen and energetic on the wards (a little less so with college study!), they also shared teenage devilment and fun.They often sneaked out of the locked nursing accommodation at night via windows or fire escapes to enjoy dances and other entertainment.They even traded English speaking lessons for food from the local Chinese takeaway! Heather is adamant that Jo was the ring leader!
Who would have imagined that all these years later Heather and Jo would be just as close and living as neighbours at glorious Stone Valley Court in Waddington, Lincolnshire. Hopefully maturity will have dampened down some of their antics!
Following cadet training, Heather and Jo’s friendship deepened as they continued to live in fairly close proximity. Despite predictions from their lecturer that they would both fail their exams, they both succeeded and were able to pursue their respective training and careers. Jo did her general training at Lincoln County Hospital and Heather as a registered nurse for those with learning disabilities at Harmston Hall Hospital, near Lincoln.
Heather looks back at those days with great fondness as she was relaxed and happy in her work and living environment. She says it was like living in a village in a village. Heather had grown up in her first 12 years in a small village where everybody looked out for one another.The villagers all came together to create their own entertainment. A real community which she relished.
Heather remained nursing at Harmston Hall for 11 years. During that time she had a lovely son called Alex with whom she shares a special and close bond. (Alex has since graduated from Loughborough University and is happily married in Yorkshire.)
Heather dedicated herself to the two priorities in her life – Alex and work.
Heather managed to purchase a small house on the outskirts of Lincoln, learnt to drive and worked hard to afford a life for her
and Alex. Heather was sought-after for her nursing aptitude and proficiency and was head-hunted by various nursing homes up to 2012 when she decided to have a change in role. She became an activities coordinator for a nursing home for the next three years and was responsible for all daytime activities, incoming entertainers and annual events such as fairs and Christmas parties.
Heather had lived in her little house for 32 years. Initially it had been an enjoyable place to live with a friendly neighbourhood but in later years she became disillusioned with the whole area. Many of the houses locally had been bought to rent out so there was little continuity in neighbours, what they were like, for how long and who often demonstrated little respect for the homes and surrounding space.
Finding a park home
Finally Heather’s mortgage had been paid off. She decided to sell, and sell before finding anywhere else. She called the estate agent on the Monday, it went on the market on the Tuesday and was sold by the Friday! Where was she to go?
In her capacity as activities coordinator, Heather was walking around the village with some of the elderly people and saw a ‘for sale’ notice outside Stone Valley Court for a two-bedroom bungalow.
That same weekend nearly three years ago, Heather viewed three park homes on the site.They were all nice, but the one she now lives in gave her the special ‘feel’. Heather was immediately taken by the pleasing presentation of the site and immaculately kept gardens. A stark contrast to her living environment at the time!
As Heather walked in to her park home she remembers saying:‘I shall feel like I’m on holiday forever!’ She now adds that she still feels this way.
Stone Valley Court is a small site of just 27 homes. Heather was further encouraged as it is a retirement site for the over 55s (for which she just qualified!) so she could be confident in the type of neighbour she would have. Her home is tucked away in a sunny spot where she can enjoy breakfast outside or relax on the lounger on a bright day.
Heather enjoys gardening but she welcomed a lower maintenance plot and has no lawn. However the outside is brightly coloured with flowering pots and scented roses decorating her surrounding wall. The home was generally in good décor and condition, although Heather had to focus on a few important jobs such as leaking roof, roof for the garage and some carpeting. She is just starting to do some interior paintwork for the first time since moving into the home.
The home was generally comfortable but some areas were a bit colder, particularly a couple of rooms that didn’t get the sunlight so much. Heather had read about Park Home Chassis Services (PHCS) and was interested in their SnuggerFLOOR
underfloor insulation.The PHCS surveyor was thorough and happily reported the chassis was in sound condition and Heather proceeded with the SnuggerFLOOR installation.
“Even as the installation of the SnuggerFLOOR system was taking place, I could feel the difference in the warmth of the floors!”
Heather explained,‘Even as the installation of the SnuggerFLOOR system was taking place, I could feel the difference in the warmth of the floors! Quite remarkable!
‘In one day I could notice the improvement in room temperature and noise reduction. I was also extremely impressed by the PHCS workmen; no radio, quiet and tidy which is very unusual these days!’
Shortly after Heather moved in to her park home, Jo visited one evening. She was enthralled by the whole park home living concept and the next thing is she has purchased a park home and moved in just up the road at Stone Valley Court!
It doesn’t stop there! When Jo’s mum, Barbara, visited she too was enthralled and she has now bought a new home on site also! Naturally Heather has known Barbara as long as she’s known Jo. And to add to the unity, Heather’s mum, Margaret, lives close by in the village.
It is heart-warming that lifelong friends are back together to share in a community environment not dissimilar to nurse cadet days! Heather, Jo and Barbara spend time together, share outings, activity and craft classes and Sunday tea…and when any of them see a bargain they’ll buy three of them! But they are also part of the park home community as a whole.They have already organised park BBQ’s and strawberry teas and I’m sure they’ll be conjuring some other fun ideas.
Generosity and kindness
Heather was initially amazed at the generosity and kindness shown by other residents on site.When she had a bad fall she was overwhelmed by people rallying around, bringing food and flowers. It wasn’t long before she realised that’s the norm and everyone cares for one another.
Maybe that epitomises park home living? Heather wouldn’t swap it for the world!