‘Long pockets and short arms’? That couldn’t be further from the truth for generous and happy-go-lucky Derek Rawnsley, who lives at Mount Pleasant Park, in Yorkshire
Quite bizarrely Derek Rawnsley and his wife Sue ended up on Mount Pleasant Park when they went to buy a nearly-new cooker from one of the park homes on the site.The home owner suggested they move to the park and so they did!
It was obviously meant to be.They chose their plot in the middle part of the 18-acre park, which was ample in size and afforded a garage, too.The bungalow in which they were living sold straight away and the newly manufactured 42ft x 20 Wessex home with large bay windows and apex roof arrived in October 2001.
Derek was born to parents in the military who had worked in Persia, Bermuda, Egypt and India before returning to base in Yorkshire. Derek was younger brother to a sister.
After a short spell of his parents working as butler and housekeeper to a stockbroker in the outskirts of Stanstead, post war, they returned to Yorkshire and Derek has remained there ever since.York is a large military city with Imphal Barracks one of the biggest in the country. Derek’s father had gained employment as a civilian ordinance policeman and they lived in the married quarters of the barracks.The married quarters still remain there today. It was an adventurous and exciting place to grow up and play in; grassy areas with air raid shelters, firing ranges, derelict tanks (a magnet for all kids!) and the nearby cavalry barracks where the horses were housed below the living accommodation of the soldiers.
School wasn’t quite so engaging. In fact, Derek says the best part about school was the holidays. He even refused to play school football as that was on a Saturday and he deemed that his day off! What he did really enjoy was being part of the garrison choir in the small army church, where he was lead singer
Derek left school at 14 with little career guidance or obvious aspirations. He had a variety of jobs before settling into the field of forestry and timber work.
An initial desire to become a painter and decorator was thwarted when a colleague fell off a ladder and broke a leg.Then, as chief teaboy, Derek badly scolded his foot with boiling water!
The next attempt at living away as a gamekeeper saw him homesick at such a young age. Plus, they had to cycle about in the dark feeding the pheasants during the winter – continuously falling off a bike wasn’t Derek’s idea of fun.
Eventually Derek won a two-year apprenticeship with the Forestry Commission.This experience lay the foundations for much of his future career.
He gained invaluable knowledge about everything to do with trees, working in woods and at Forestry nurseries. His job was held open while he served his two-year National Service in which he clearly impressed as he became a Company Commander’s driver during his posting in Germany.While it was good experience and he enjoyed the camaraderie, the pay of ten shillings a week wasn’t so pleasing!
Derek married on his return and had two sons, Andrew and Nick. Derek continued to work in the timber trade with a short sabbatical as a record salesman for a budget EMI label – Music for Pleasure, Classic for Pleasure and Listen for Pleasure. He had always fancied being a ‘rep’ and liked music. The cassette tapes sold for £1.99 which, in his role as a car salesman (Ford Cortina!), he sold directly to record shops.The lure away from timber duties, due to cold and wet weather, eventually waned after long hours
for a lesser wage. So it was back to the timber trade. It was a great opportunity for his children to accompany him in the holidays, learning about the outdoors and driving tractors! Sadly, in 1984, they all lost their jobs when the miners’ strike started because much of their timber production was used in the mining process.
Derek established a self-employed gardening business and it was through his very first customer that he met his second wife, Sue.They became family friends originally, and Sue helped Derek through some testing times.They married
in 1996. Sue suffered from MS and Derek eventually became her carer. Not to be deterred, however, Sue would help on Derek’s gardening round, digging out weeds and they shared lots of good times together.
Park life fan
They enjoyed 11 fabulous years together in their park home at Mount Pleasant Park and the social aspect park living brings.They purchased a Yaris car which, surprisingly, was able to accommodate Sue’s mid-sized scooter enabling them to appreciate day trips out, especially to her favourite north coast destination,Whitby.
Derek, too, has had to cope with some serious health issues, along with family tragedy, but he is coming out the other side. He has such a warm and upbeat personality and he is now starting to go out and socialise (in fact his calendar is full up with different engagements!). As he has ‘no intention of being anywhere else’
Derek is keen to maintain his home. It’s no surprise that the garden is splendid, with all types of trees and colours, with plentiful flowering shrubbed pots, too.
The one downside he was experiencing in his park home was the cold floors and draughts, which made it difficult to sit down and relax. As well as the comfort factor, Derek concluded that after ground rent his gas was his next most expensive outlay. Derek called Park Home Chassis Services (PHCS) about the PHCS SnuggerFloor underfloor insulation system.
‘The PHCS surveyor came and looked under the home. Little did I know there was a leak in one of the pipes. It wasn’t until I turned one of the taps on that I heard him holler that he was getting wet directly underneath! He was magic and such a nice guy to get on with! He checked all my chassis and supports and confirmed the suitability of PHCS SnuggerFloor underfloor insulation.
The installation has now taken place. ‘It’s absolutely brilliant,’ he added.‘I walked in the door and the home felt immediately welcoming – the difference is remarkable! The fantastic installation team worked solidly throughout and were polite and friendly.’
Warm and cosy
Confident that the home is warm and cosy, with everything in excellent order, Derek is looking forward to a new chapter in 2017. There is no doubt his social calendar will fill up fast.
I also think that, once more of the home owners are aware of his green fingers, Derek may get a few pleas for gardening assistance too. A good job he’s kept all those gardening tools!