Team Spirit!

Brian and Mai Sirrell are great advocates of park home living – they share how making the right choices pays dividends!

Brian and Mai Sirrell have lived on Middletown Residential Park in Welshpool, Powys since 2000 when it was mainly a caravan site with just four mobile homes. Now it’s developed to thirty four park homes with design input from Brian.

Brian first heard about Middletown Residential Park from Tony Bywaters, the MD of Salop Leisure who owned the site. Tony and Brian had known each other when they were both football referees and Tony was aware of Brian’s engineering background and capabilities. Brian consequently was contributory to planning the layout of plots, driveways, infrastructure for utilities, and parking areas, all to meet with council legislation.

Brian grew up in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. He was a sporty child representing his county at youth level in both football and athletics. He played football right up to his 40’s! After which he became a referee, spending his last nine seasons at Lilleshall, Newport where the National Sports England youth team played. Not one to name drop (but I am!) he worked alongside up and coming players such as Sol Campbell, Nick Barmby, Michael Owen and also with Sir Bobby Robson.

The property ladder

Mai and Brian met in 1955 when he was on home leave from the army (Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineering) and Mai was working at Shewsbury hospital as a nurse. Married in July 1958, they enjoyed only three days of honeymoon in Llandudno before Brian was beckoned back to Reme and Para Regiment to be stationed in Cyprus, and didn’t see each other again until March 1959!

Brian and Mai got an early start on the housing ladder if not in a slightly unorthodox way! They had found a wonderful four bedroomed Welsh stone cottage located where Mai was born. There was no mains water, a pump and well set within ¼ acre of gardens and the price negotiated at £750! The mortgage was only forthcoming however on the proviso that after completing his time playing football for Machno United, Brian would play for Bettws-y-Coed which was the Bank Manager’s team!

Later Brian and Mai moved back to Shrewsbury and they started to downsize once the three children, Karen, Jeanette and Kelvin, had left home.

But it was in 2000 that Brian was experiencing difficulty to walk. Up until then, aged sixty four, Brian was running eight miles a day for pleasure. A change in pace was a bitter pill to swallow.

It was at Tony Bywater’s suggestion about park home living that Brian and Mai could identify with the benefits of a one level, low maintenance home set in an admirable sized plot and idyllic surroundings. They purchased their first park home, a single unit, designed to their specification.

Accommodating change

Two years later however, Brian was given the shattering diagnosis of Guillan Barré Syndrome (CIDP), a rare and serious autoimmune disorder. As it became more apparent that Brian was to be wheel chair bound, they sold their park home and bought a larger one to go on site. Brian and Mai designed this also to facilitate his changing needs such as wider access areas and wet room.

An inspiration to all, Brian has remained upbeat. As part of his involvement in planning the site, Brian helped sell the park homes and therefore got to know residents in the first instance. Over the years Brian and Mai have made many friends and have enjoyed many social events within the village and park site community.

Grouping together

As an engineer, Brian is only too aware of the importance of the chassis of a park home and its supporting function. As their park home approached eleven years, Brian was sensitive to the fact that the chassis and supports can weaken with rust corrosion over time, and the supports may be insufficient for changes in weight made to the home. He therefore wanted to ensure that the condition under the home was satisfactory and that long term stability and security was not compromised.

Brian asked Park Home Chassis Services (PHCS) to carry out an underfloor survey of his home. He also collaborated with other park residents who wanted their homes surveyed which enabled PHCS to offer a discounted survey fee to everyone.

(The underfloor survey fee with full report is £190 inclusive VAT, and £150 inclusive VAT for three or more participating residents)

Speaking on behalf of the group, Brian says they were impressed by the exemplary service and professionalism of PHCS. “Everybody we spoke to at PHCS was well mannered, courteous and informative. The surveyor was exceptional – it provides one with great confidence when questions are met with straight and knowledgeable answers and no hiding anything!”

The survey is followed up with a detailed written report which provides additional information about the underside of the home, complemented by photos. “The whole report was really helpful and it’s a great selling tool if ever the home were to be sold”.

Fortunately the undersides of the homes surveyed were all in good condition! Money well spent for peace of mind and knowing all is well.

Let’s get Snug!

Brian, and his neighbour Colin Harding, also elected to have PHCS SnuggerFLOOR underfloor insulation installed as they wanted to improve the warmth within the home. Much cold in the home is due to the cold air coming from the underside of the park home and up through the floorboards; PHCS SnuggerFLOOR underfloor insulation addresses the problem at source.

As the PHCS SnuggerFLOOR underfloor insulation system is fully sealed and bonded, the cold air is unable to penetrate the floor boards thus eliminating cold floors and draughts.

“PHCS SnuggerFLOOR has made such a difference! We noticed the improvement immediately!”

Brian happily reports that the home retains the heat right up until bedtime and with no heating on wake up to temperatures around 21 degrees, with warm floors. In fact the first utility bill showed a substantial saving in costs too!

Snug in Snow

In the cold spells of 2018, when snow hit hard – particularly in the depths of Wales – both Brian and Colin’s park homes who had been fitted with PHCS SnuggerFLOOR were the ONLY two homes on the park who didn’t suffer frozen pipes or loss of heating!

“PHCS SnuggerFLOOR is absolutely brilliant! When everyone else contended with frozen pipes and no heating, we sat in the comfort of our homes admiring the snow-capped landscape! Plus the heating was only on 15 degrees! That proves the effectiveness of PHCS SnuggerFLOOR!”

Positively inspirational!

A cosy home is always welcomed, particularly for less mobile people. Despite suffering some very poor health recently Brian is amazingly bright and positive. It won’t be long until he’s back to his active self.

Brian and Mai used to enjoy holidays abroad and have visited some fabulous places such as Mauritius, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Hawaii (and more!). They no longer go abroad but they have a wonderful holiday caravan in Aberystwyth on the Welsh coast which they visit often.

Brian is now 82 years and Mai 81 years of age. Brian gardens with Mai and enjoys writing. He also drives a car with hand controls. Quite remarkably, Brian is also instrumental in helping other less fortunate people coming out of the spinal unit at Oswestry Orthopaedic Hospital where he is the oldest wheelchair skills trainer. He is a real inspiration to so many.

2018 was the year of Brain and Mai celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. They received a letter of congratulations and photograph from the Queen!

Brian and Mai are a fabulous team together with a wonderful family. They now have seven very special great grandchildren the most recent born in Cambodia who is delightful. Fortunately Skype and technology enables them to be in regular touch no matter the distance.

Brian and Mai have shared so much and Brian says he couldn’t have coped without Mai. She is an ex nurse so cares for him well. They are nestled in their lovely park home in the knowledge that all is sound and in good condition, and fully endorse park home living. What could be better!

In a Nutshell

  • Brian and Mai wanted to find a home that was accessible, low level and low maintenance – with beautiful surroundings! A park home on Middletown Residential Park offered just that!
  • Brian and Mai adapted their park home to accommodate Brian’s changing needs and wheelchair access
  • As Brian and Mai’s park home reached its 11th year, Brian wanted to ensure the condition of the supports and chassis under the home were in sound order, to ensure stability and safety of the home.
  • Brian wanted other residents to benefit from the group discounted survey offering from PHCS.
  • Brian cannot praise PHCS enough! “The results since having PHCS SnuggerFLOOR underfloor insulation fitted speak volumes! It’s brilliant!”