Wendy Lovell is a petite lady with big personality and plenty of drive. For the past two years she has lived at Otter Valley Park, in Honiton, Devon, where she has made big changes to her home and lifestyle.
Wendy Lovell grew up in Taunton, Somerset, and is the middle child of 11; unusual when growing up in the 1960s and understandably challenging.
It taught Wendy a lot about independence, emotional self-reliance and frugality. Much time was spent helping with household chores.
Today all Wendy’s siblings still live in and around Somerset and now share stronger and more affectionate relationships. Particularly bright at school (she had serious aspirations to become a scientist), circumstances simply didn’t allow further education for Wendy. Hence, on the day Wendy left school at 16, she knocked on the doors of a local factory and the following Monday was employed as a machinist for Van Heusen.
At 18, Wendy gave birth to her first baby girl and is now the proud mother of three daughters and one son, and four grandsons. She laughs as she contrasts her upbringing with that of her children and how she was fiercely protective of her children shielding them from danger or upset.
Let’s get empowered
By Wendy’s early thirties it was time to expand her horizons and challenge herself intellectually. Having been out of the workplace for a long time, the prospect of getting a job was daunting and somewhat limited. However, not to be deterred, Wendy enrolled on a Woman Returners course. Her quest for learning soon gained Wendy competency skills in typing, word processing, computer literacy, book keeping and report writing.
Wendy then commenced advanced training, with an allowance, to train in office duties which saw her placement with the Taunton Liberal Democrats.
In fact she worked with Jackie Ballard in her election campaign in 1992. If she won, Ms Ballard had promised Wendy would become her PA. Sadly, she didn’t win that campaign but won a parliamentary seat in 1997.
Still going strong
Wendy joined a temp agency and in her second week was placed with Avon and Somerset Police in Taunton to carry out secretarial duties. Credit to her aptitude, Wendy was permanently employed a few months later and, 20 years on, is still working in the police force. In the days of electronic typewriters Wendy started by typing up hand written statements and interviews but soon progressed in role and responsibility. Employed in the process department Wendy was involved in all aspects of collation of prosecution files for the Crown Prosecution Service and local magistrates’
Ten years on, Wendy embraced a new challenge in the Enquiry Office. Despite her small stature, her people skills and quickwittedness helped manage diverse issues. In 2006, Wendy moved to the crucially important and intense communications department taking 999 calls from the public. Essentially this demands compassion, decisiveness, and an ability to extract sufficient information accurately and quickly to enable immediate officer despatch.
Without doubt, Wendy thrives and excels in this field. Unfortunately several years later Wendy was faced with decisions to make after her second marriage came to an end and a short spell outside of the police (due to relocation of the department in which she was working) in a job she wasn’t happy. In 2012 Wendy found her niche again and joined the communications department in Devon and Cornwall police. The journey, however, was 27 miles each way – time to re-evaluate location! In a brave move, Wendy decided to up sticks and move away from all she knew
Two years ago Wendy visited Otter Valley Park, in Honiton, Devon. The third home she viewed was ‘an absolute tip’ but Wendy loved the layout.
She explained, ‘It was 25 years old, in a dreadful state with much of the original fittings and decoration, but I could see how I could change it.’
Within months the home was refurbished and transformed, mostly through Wendy’s own handy work. The home is elevated on a hill slightly higher than neighbouring ones. It is a spacious two bedroom home, with two bathrooms – one en suite – a good sized kitchen, dining area and lounge and a hall so big it could house a ping pong table with ease! She said, ‘It’s ideal. I have plenty of room for entertaining, lots of living space for my money and, importantly, I’m mortgage-free!’
The site is blissfully peaceful, off the beaten track, surrounded by a field of grazing livestock and charmed by a myriad of birds. She said, ‘Right from the get-go, I felt safe living here.’
The only cause for concern was when some people knocking on doors approached Wendy and claimed they would inspect the chassis of the home – there and then! Immediately she was told all was not well; the chassis was in dire condition, in need of immediate attention and was quoted a hefty
fee – discounted if she had the work done on the same day!
Fortunately, Wendy sensed unscrupulous practice and declined the offer. However, it left her worried that the home would collapse. In fact, she kept walking round the edges of the home in fear it would collapse!
To be trusted
A friend had recommended Park Home Chassis Services (PHCS) to Wendy. She said, ‘They carried out a full inspection under the home. I was really impressed. The report and photos highlighted everything clearly. It was an honest report that I felt I could trust.’ PHCS re-supported the home with hot dip galvanised PHCS HD supports. She added, ‘Beforehand, I had a sensation of walking downhill in the home and there was a clonking noise under foot. ‘Not only is the home properly supported, it feels completely level and all noises have disappeared.’
Wendy has just taken a week off work to tend to her garden. She has been hedge cutting, gravelling and planting. Wendy is also carrying out an experiment involving taking cuttings from a special fuchsia with the intention of filling the whole of one side of her home with a blaze of scented purple and pink splendour.
Wendy doesn’t rest on her laurels. Despite long working hours, she is starting to dog walk for the Cinnamon Trust – a national charity helping dog owners who cannot exercise their pets themselves. It’s a fabulous way for any dog lover to enjoy the company of dogs, get some exercise and help others in times of need.
Wendy has also walked sections of the south-west coastal path and plans to do more. Her daughter, who lives in Texas, is also spending time with Wendy over the summer. Hopefully, among everything else, Wendy will find time to put her feet up and lose herself in one of the psychological
thrillers she so loves to read!