Location, location!

Marj and Barry Wright have always held the countryside close to their hearts and wanted to find the perfect location in which to enjoy retirement.

When Barry suggested a park home in which to live however, this wasn’t what Marj had envisaged and the idea wasn’t greeted with quite the enthusiasm Barry had hoped! But when Marj visited Small Acre Park in Leominster, Herefordshire she was more than swayed! It’s an exclusive site of just eight park homes, and on seeing the brand new 45 x 20 Stateley home with a generous garden plot overlooking further woodland, Marj immediately identified with living there! That was fifteen years ago now and they haven’t looked back!

From humble beginnings…

Marj and Barry have been together sixty two years, married for fifty seven years. (Barry says he’s never forgiven the vicar since!) Joking aside, they are the loveliest, fun couple you could meet who certainly decry their eighty years!

Marj grew up in Wolverhampton, and Barry in Willenhall in the West Midlands. On leaving school Marj worked as a junior clerk and telephonist for Harris and Sheldon shop fitters in Willenhall, and also trained as a shorthand typist at night school. Marj stayed with the company until she gave birth to their first child, Trevor.

Barry worked for John Harpers who had a garage in the same yard as Marj and hence they would see each other regularly each morning. A cheery morning ‘hello’ led to a date to the pictures which became a Friday evening fixture for several years later! Barry had to cycle six miles each way to court Marj who was still living with her parents in Essington. Barry claims he had to prove himself but he obviously passed the test as they married five years later on 25 March 1961, and honeymooned in Blackpool.

Initially, Marj and Barry lived with his parents until they managed to secure a little council flat in Shortheath. Barry remained with John Harpers as a mechanic and driver for the Directors of the company for fourteen years. In the latter years Marj and Barry even moved to a tied bungalow in Holgate, Shropshire to be nearby and personally chauffeur one of the Directors who was losing his sight.

But as the family grew, with more mouths to feed, Barry found a more lucrative job in long distance driving. Barry loved the job. It’s so often the case, that when you have lovely people and bosses to work with, the whole experience is happy. Barry enjoyed the opportunity to travel around although he mainly tried to get back home for the night.

Home is where the heart is

By this time Marj and Barry had four wonderful children who have all become successful in their own rights. Trevor runs his own blinds fitting company and Denise works in administration, both live in Shropshire. Barry (junior) now lives in USA working in refrigeration and air conditioning, and Keith has his own construction business in Jersey. They also have five delightful grandchildren. Little wonder they make many trips to visit the family!

Finally Marj and Barry purchased their own bungalow in Broseley in Shropshire where they settled for the next thirty two years! Originally Barry had been employed at Yale forklift truck company, where he fitted petrol to gas conversions. A great job that sadly came to an end when the company closed down. It was during his final salaried job at Broseley Motor Centre where he was responsible for high pressure removal of the protective wax layer on the new Toyota cars (you may remember that’s how new cars used to be shielded), that he aspired to working for himself.

Going alone

At the ripe age of fifty (!), Barry decided to train as a driving instructor. Within no time he had built the business and he was earning more in twenty hours of instructing than he did in a forty hour week at the garage! He only advertised his services for three weeks at the outset of the business thereafter it all came from word of mouth! He must have impressed his previous boss too as Barry ended up teaching all his children to drive! He says he was a calm instructor and I think he must have achieved his 70% success rate by comforting and encouraging his pupils with his good humoured approach.

Marj was very settled in their bungalow and the local environment. She had enjoyed caring for the elderly at the Cottage Hospital in Broseley for twelve years until it closed. In fact Marj had no reason to move at all!

It was on one of their many caravanning holidays (spread over thirty years), in Cornwall that they met a gentleman who was looking at different park sites in the area. This triggered Marj and Barry’s curiosity, and although they felt Cornwall was too far, they picked up a leaflet from him about Small Acre Park in Herefordshire. It was when they saw a road sign for Leominster whilst visiting friends in Worcester they decided to take a tentative look. That was it!

Buy location!

Barry was always inclined towards rural, quiet areas despite being a city boy. Marj had grown up a country girl. As soon as they arrived at Small Acre Park, a select and private site, and saw the new home with landscaped gardens and the surrounding area they realised it was a location they couldn’t resist. It was everything they liked and wanted. One may think it brave of them to move to a new area for retirement but they felt so happy with the place that it didn’t cause concern.

Marj and Barry have now lived at Small Acre Park for fifteen years. They truly haven’t looked back. They still keep up with friends and travel around to see family but they are very content in their new community and always want to return home. They have joined the bowling club and meet up with friends at different local events. Their love of the countryside has never waned and enjoy walking and taking jaunts out in the car on a regular basis.

Trust means everything!

The beauty of a new park home is that very little maintenance or update is required. However Marj and Barry were conscious that the underneath of the home was due at fifteen years, particularly as there were signs of creaking and movement under foot.

Barry was drawn to Park Home Chassis Services (PHCS) as a neighbour had previously employed the company to survey underneath his park home. Barry was impressed that PHCS had been honest that no work was required under his neighbour’s park home and he felt confident he would be dealing with genuine and honest people. When he met Dave Foale from PHCS he was further assured in their professionalism and knowledge.

Marj and Barry’s park home did need re-supporting and they chose to have a full chassis refurbishment to ensure the underside was preserved for years to come. PHCS installed their own branded HD supports, superior hot dip galvanised, approved by NCC. Marj and Barry are most happy that all creaks have diminished, the home is sturdier, and all the better for accommodating the next grand fish tank! (Barry had had visions of it falling through the floor and feeding the fish from under the home!)

“I can honestly say that we totally recommend a survey of under your home as it’s better to know if there are any issues so you can deal with them before they escalate in damage and cost. We are more than pleased with PHCS and the result. A great hardworking team who work with integrity!”  

Rich in life

Marj and Barry are on a slight sabbatical at the moment due to Marj’s knee operation but she’s already about on crutches and it won’t be long until she’s let loose again! (Marj has got Barry waiting on her a bit whilst the going is good!)

It hasn’t dampened her spirits and they have got lots of plans mapped out; off to Jersey in June, family and friends to visit, coach trip to Scotland scheduled and bowling matches to win!

I think there is plenty of truth in finding the right location which will bring comfort and happiness. Marj and Barry are most certainly proof of that. They made the right decision fifteen years ago and are extremely happy they did so!