We find out more about a park home couple from Hampshire whose lives have been enriched  by the sense  of community and friendships they’ve fostered on their site

when bedridden with illness. Mesmerised by one of the then and decipherable sounds, Ed eventually established it was the sound of a pedal steel guitar. It was relatively unheard of as an instrument, so Ed was amazed that  a music shop  on  his beat  was  able  to  obtain one. It  was  a  top-of-the-range Odell; at £800 in the 1970s it needed to be! Ed paid

Sitting on the terrace  with  Ed  and Marcella Butcher at their lovely  park home on  Broadway  Park, in Peters-field, Hampshire, you couldn’t help but relax amid  the park’s  tranquillity  and charm. Ed and Marcella are an entertaining couple with stories to  tell  galore! They’ve  been married  for 53  years, are  parents  of  three children and have shared a close and colourful  life together.

Good choice

Ed served for 30 years in the police force in and  around  Portsmouth. This  was  initiated by  a  girlfriend  who  considered  his first job in tailoring to be not ‘man enough’! It was a wise choice, however, as the job was never a chore. It was integral to the community with the  police  playing the  role of social services in those days. There  were  occasions  when safety was compromised –  late  night beats

with exuberant dubbers and drinkers , and Ed was bitten by dogs on five different occasions! He also narrowly escaped a chasing pit bull terrier  that  was  undergoing  a court  decision on  its dangerous pedigree.

Ed even met Marcella when on the beat. Marcella was only 17 and Ed just  21 at  the time. They married three years later in 1964. They  rented  their  first  house and  then  lived in  several  different  police  digs, which provided  a great community environment .

Marcelle  is a  trained  hairdresser  and worked part- time, allowing some ladies ‘time together’ at  the  beach!  It  was also  a  perfect and safe location for the children to grow  up in. Their  children  are  all grown  up  now, living in Corn wall, London and Horndean where their special grandson  also lives.

Let the music begin

Ed and Marcelle have developed some very long- term and close friendships  over the years. Many from the police force but many have also evolved fro1n Ed’s music career, which ran in parallel to his working life, and was hugely instrumental  (excuse  the pun!) and prominent  throughout  his adult years.

Ed had always been interested in music having played the violin and  guitar as a youngster. But  his  passion  was  ignited  when a friend  gave  him  a  reel of music  to  listen  to for it in  instalments and  the rest  is history.

As it was so rare, the chances of finding a tutor for the pedal steel guitar were virtually non-existent. So, with  one  book  from  the US, and an immense amount of talent, Ed taught himself and was in immediate demand to play for various bands over the next few decades. So much so that he was asked  to play with the band, Sandy Mack, four days after taking delivery of the instrument! Ed could only play a few chords at the time but he was on stage by the Saturday night .

His music was inclusive, with the family attending many of  the  venues. He  played  a mix  of large  and  small venues  but  Ed favored the smaller, more intimate,  ones where he could enjoy banter and interaction with  the audience

Special place, special friends

What is quite remarkable is that two of the couple’s musician friends from bands also now live on Broadway Park. In fact, Derek and  Meryl  Harper live  next door!

Ed and Marcelle are thrilled with their park home  and its lo cation.  Following the police force, Ed worked as a senior investigations officer but, when  that  came  to an end, he and Marcelle felt it appropriate to downsize  and  had considered  a bungalow. Out of the  blue, one  of Marcelle’s hairdressing customers mentioned  a sister who lived at Broadway Park, which fueled their enthusiasm to visit and subsequently secure  a plot. They bought the home directly from Tingdene and designed the interior to meet their personal preferences. It is a beautifully presented  home in an enviable le  position.

“Ed enjoys many sports and Marcelle has been a valuable back up – particularly in making cricket teas and sandwiches!”

Peace of mind

The home is now ten years old and – already familiar with Park Horne Chassis Services (PHCS) from others on the park – Ed, along with  a few other  residents, decided  to  have the  underside  of  his home  inspected  to ensure  the chassis and supports were all in a satisfactory condition.

Ed explained, ‘ lt  was  all about  peace  of mind. The PHCS surveyors were extremely knowledgeable and informative, and we were happy with the professional  reports  we received.’

Ed and Marcelle also  decided  to have  the PHCS underfloor insulation system installed. ‘We  think  it  is a worthwhile investment

and we are very pleased with the result,’ Ed continued . ‘PHCS is a great team. We’ve been  impressed  by everyone.’ Ed  and  Marcelle  are seldom apart. Ed enjoys many sports and Marcelle has been a valuable  back up – particularly in making cricket teas and sandwiches! Ed has kept himself in good shape and fitness; rowing  machine  to  pump  the heart, squash and  yoga for sup lenses. Marcelle confirms his headstands are very impressive!

On Broadway

Life on Broadway Park is enjoyable and calm. The garden is contained and private. It’s heartening  to  hear of such a happy community where residents group  together for coffee mornings and social  events. The  park is close  enough  to  walk into the fabulous historic town of Petersfield with great eateries and coffee shops.

Ed and Marcelle are kept busy with many social engagements and friends. They are already booked up by family for the next year with house, cat and grandchild sitting! This doesn’t deter them  from snatching a few peaceful weeks in their static caravan, sited near C Hochster – another historic and lovely area  to explore. Winter breaks with the family have been spent in the New Forest and they actively book coach holidays to new and interesting places.

Delightful couple

It’s delightful to meet such  a positive couple. Marcelle says they are happy to ‘loll About’ at home but what strikes me is the wonderful balance and quality of life they seem to have achieved.