Sixty years on a residential park and still going strong
When Arthur Kempster applied for a job at a new park-home estate in Romford, Essex, he didn’t have high hopes of staying there very long. After all, he had been in and out of jobs since leaving the army four years earlier.
But that was 60 years ago and Arthur is still there, probably the longest-serving park home resident in the country.
The park in question was Caters Caravans in Romford, Essex. But now it has a new name, Lakeview, and is part of Wyldecrest, one of the biggest residential-estate operators in Britain.
There were only half a dozen mobile homes on the 8¼-acre park at the time and, not surprisingly, since 1956 much has changed.
With its 127 plots, Lakeview is now Wyldecrest’s most popular park, its state-of-the-art homes and facilities a far cry from those that featured at Caters Caravans all those years ago.
Amazingly, 60 years on, one thing that hasn’t changed is that Arthur and his wife, Jean, are still living there, in a 40ft x 20 Omar Sheringham. Costing £49,000 in 1996, it replaced their 22ft x 7ft 6in Paladin Liberator bought new for £600 in 1958.
When I spoke to the 86-year-old, he was as sprightly as ever.
"Yes, I’m still here," he joked, "because nobody ever gave me the sack.
"Our Omar is amazing compared with the park homes in the 1960s: a transformation. And it’s in immaculate condition!"
Despite his age, Arthur hasn’t got any plans to retire.
"I’ll just keep carrying on," he told us, with a laugh.
More information about Lakeview and Wyldecrest from wyldecrestparks.co.uk
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