Key­hole:

We’re pay­ing a visit to a very spe­cial bun­ga­low in Cromer

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE - WORDS AND PHO­TOS: Tony Hall

A spe­ciallyadap­ted coastal bun­ga­low

Ev­ery sailor knows that ac­cess to a safe an­chor­age gives to­tal peace of mind. I think this anal­ogy also ap­plies in the con­text of dis­abled peo­ple look­ing for­ward to a hol­i­day away, try­ing to find a suit­able prop­erty for their needs.

It is cer­tainly some­thing very close to Steve Parker’s heart. Steve, a re­tired com­pany man­ag­ing di­rec­tor who grew up in Ter­ring­ton St Cle­ments, was di­ag­nosed with auto-im­mune dis­ease mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis in 2007.

“Clare and I had been play­ing ten­nis in Great Mass­ing­ham, where we have lived for over 30 years, when I said ‘I’ll run back home, as you haven’t worn me out,’” says Steve. “Af­ter half a mile my left foot kicked the ground and then again and I had to drag my­self back home be­fore col­laps­ing.

“That was the start of my ill­ness, which grad­u­ally got worse over the last 10 years. In 2018 Clare and I went to the Clinic Ruiz in Mex­ico for hematopoi­etic stem cell trans­plan­ta­tion, to hope­fully stop my pro­gres­sion. It was with great sup­port from fam­ily, friends and the won­der­ful peo­ple of Great Mass­ing­ham who helped raise the much-needed funds, so now it’s fin­gers crossed.

“It was good friends, Penny and Mike, who run Crabpot Cot­tages,” says Clare, “who first gave us the idea of a hav­ing hol­i­day home, not just for our­selves, but for guests. I had in­her­ited some money when dad died, but in­ter­est rates are ap­palling so we ran with the idea.

“We looked at sev­eral bun­ga­low prop­er­ties, but this one, which needed ren­o­va­tion in

Cromer re­ally fit­ted the bill”.

“As I find it dif­fi­cult get­ting out of a car, I let Clare do the first view­ing, while wait­ing in the car out­side,” says Steve. “Be­sides see­ing the po­ten­tial of the prop­erty, I was very taken by the nice neigh­bours who came out to talk. It had been owned for many years by a for­mer mer­chant sea­man and un­der lots of un­der­growth Clare and friends found the large an­chor.

“We de­signed the bun­ga­low with the help of Jonathan Rose of Evo­lu­tion Build­ing Ser­vices, for to­tal ease of use for any­one in a wheel­chair, but not com­pro­mis­ing on style and lux­ury. There is a wrap­around deck which, with large bi-fold doors, al­lows you to bring the out­side in, all on one con­tin­u­ous level.”

There are two bed­rooms, both with en-suites, with the mas­ter hav­ing a spa­cious wet room and all fa­cil­i­ties. In the kitchen the hob raises and low­ers and the sink and other items are set at wheel­chair-friendly heights.

There is a wooden floor through­out and ob­vi­ously all door­ways are wide. So it is an ‘ac­cess all ar­eas’ home. “We both love the main liv­ing room, with its sense of space, the bi­fold doors and the deck­ing,” says Clare.

“I loved Cromer from the time of child­hood hol­i­days,” says Steve, “and we both used to play at Cromer Lawn Ten­nis courts – Clare still does. Cromer is very wheel­chair-friendly and I en­joy go­ing along the prom, watch­ing the sea and later maybe we go for a drink on the pier, sit­ting out­side at The Pav­il­ion The­atre bar, look­ing back at the town.

“Steve and Clare, who moved to Nor­folk from North­wood in Mid­dle­sex in 1971, had met at school, but it was not they joined Fak­en­ham Young Farm­ers that the re­la­tion­ship took off and they mar­ried in 1980.

They have two chil­dren, Christo­pher, who works in Canada, and Michael, who works

Ac­ces­si­ble kitchen units, How­dens; pho­tos in kitchen by Clare; floor­ing through­out – Quick­step Im­pres­sive Soft Oak Light lam­i­nate floor­ing, from Floor­ing Sup­plies at Thetford (01842 769333)

Steve and Clare at the bun­ga­low

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