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