We find out why a pair of garden enthusiasts at a picturesque Hampshire park called on Park Home Chassis Services (PHCS) for help with their home…
hreen-fingered Broadway Park manager Graham and his wife Sandra Fripp have won prestigious local gardening award ‘Petersfield in Bloom’ for the second year running!
The creative couple scooped gold medals for pots and containers and bronze for their garden – an amazing achievement especially as the garden was only three years mature last year!
But it’s not just the Fripps who are horticulturally gifted: the whole of Willow Drive on their Petersfield-based park won the competition’s silver award.
Graham and Sandra had known each other briefly when Sandra was just 16, but it wasn’t until they had a chance meeting 13 years ago that romance was kindled.
Sandra was Matron Carter, head of care at a residential home, when Graham was working there carrying out some construction work. They married three years later on a cruise ship just off the coast from Barcelona (you cannot take your vows at port).
It was an idyllic wedding witnessed by two of the ship’s crew, who are now life-long friends, and also the late Paul Daniels and his wife Debbie McGee who were on board ship and asked if they could attend!
Graham and Sandra declared them as a delightful couple and were thrilled to share their celebratory day with them.
Freedom to live
When Graham and Sandra retired they realised it made practical and financial sense to downsize – more money was going out than in and they wanted to focus and afford on the things they loved doing.
They hadn’t been familiar with park homes beforehand but visited Broadway Park, in Petersfield, Hampshire, where one plot was available. All to be seen was a concrete slab, a small garage to the side and a very large raised garden of mud.
Sandra didn’t quite share Graham’s vision at this stage and was most certainly not convinced!
In fact it wasn’t until the day they moved in, four years ago, that Sandra cried with joy at their beautiful 50ft x 20 home. It is a beautiful light and spacious home set in a desirably sunny and secluded position.
The garden has been transformed from a sloping raised mudbath into a green carpet of grass and a sophisticated arrangement of flowers, shrubs and tubs, creating a heaven of colour and scent. Although gardening was originally Graham’s passion, it is now a shared enjoyment.
The couple know all the local garden centres and which ones offer the best cream teas, too!
All in a day’s work
Not long after moving onto the park, Graham’s hands-on approach and construction and engineering knowledge afforded him the position of park manager.
It’s not always an easy job because you can’t please people all of the time, but his motivation is to help everybody as much as he can. He is responsible for all day to day running of the park, liaison between residents and the office and looks out for the well-being of all. He is in the office each weekday morning but always carries the park phone with him, even at night. As he says, he wouldn’t want someone ill or worrying on their own.
Only the best
One area that Graham has concentrated on is creating a portfolio of recommended suppliers to advise residents. He is very aware that not all suppliers are credible and has therefore spent time researching and talking to different companies so he is confident about their reliability and quality of work.
It was after several conversations with Park Home Chassis Services (PHCS) that Graham asked Cathi Foale to visit the park and present to residents. PHCS specialises in the underside of park homes. Cathi explained why and when you should have your chassis inspected, as well as the merits of the PHCS underfloor insulation system. Graham, along with many others, had the PHCS underfloor insulation installed.
He said, ‘We were all really pleased.The installation boys were excellent and nothing seemed too much bother.’
Since then, more residents have had more under floor inspections carried out by PHCS for their peace of mind. Graham added,‘I am happy to recommend PHCS because they are a trusted company.’
While Graham works in the mornings, Sandra has time to pursue her interests and friends. Graham jests that she drinks Petersfield out of coffee!
What they love about life on Broadway Park is there special home and garden but also the freedom it brings and ability to act spontaneously. Any afternoon they can decide what to do or where to go. Only 15 minutes from Portsmouth by car, they can be walking on the beach, watching fireworks at Cowes or simply touring about and enjoying different eateries.
Sandra has a daughter in Colorado (where the John Wayne films were made incidentally) who she has contact via Messenger daily and spent three weeks visiting last year. Graham and Sandra are keen cruisers and enjoyed a five week Caribbean cruise earlier this year, with Xmas planned cruising the islands for two weeks.
Graham points out that it’s his continued working that affords these luxuries and keeps him energised. Graham and Sandra share total appreciation of their home and life style. Their enjoyment of the wildlife in the garden is evident and is regularly frequented if the amount of bird feed eaten is anything to go by! They have an array of birds including sparrow hawks, gold finches and bull finches, plus a resident squirrel!
As I leave there is a gift of runner beans and courgettes on the doorstep, left by a neighbour. I think that just about sums up community living and how lovely this park is.