Author Archives: Emma Lane

Follow the transformation

A really exciting opportunity has arisen for us to totally refurbish and renovate one of the original brochure park home properties here on The Elms. Back in 1987 12a Birch Grove, a large 42 by 20 foot park home, was sited on The Elms for residents Mr and Mrs Finn.

Situated on a superb plot adjacent to the lake with stunning views and a prime end plot location with a garage, this property was used to feature in our brochures back in the late 1980’s. Oh how times have changed…

Mr and Mrs Finn loved their new park home and took great pride in its appearance. Unfortunately, not long after they moved in to their new home, Mr Finn passed away. Mrs Finn however, embraced life and became quite a character here on The Elms riding around on her three-wheeler bicycle and coming up to the office just for a kiss from John Kinch! She swore this is the reason she moved here! Mrs Finn went on to enjoy many happy years here at the Elms until she sadly passed away in December last year, having been a resident here for nearly 30 years!

Due to progressing ill health in her later years, the property has had little maintenance work carried out on it, so when the opportunity arose for us to purchase the property back, we decided it was perfect for us to take it under our wing and inject some life back into this property on such a prime plot. We decided to write blog posts about its progress to show you how an older park home, that some may think is near to the end of its life, can actually have a new lease of life injected back into it and look just as good as new.

Before: A few pictures of what the property looked like in May 2017…


These pictures taken in September 2017 show that the garden is all cleared, the kitchen has been stripped out and the transformation is on its way.

More pictures will follow shortly revealing some very exciting changes…

Track progress of this renovation project as we go through each stage and see the exciting developments that will take place as we transform this 1987 property into 21st century living.


Big changes are happening as we can see from the latest pictures taken in October!

The new kitchen is really starting to take shape and the new doors and wardrobes give a fresh feel to the bedrooms.


To make the most of the impressive views we are opening up the kitchen window area – wow what a view this will be!

birch grove

Latest updates for November – Scaffolding went up last week all in preparation to install a brand new roof. Now it’s really starting to take shape!

new roof

A bit of an update on our refurbishing. 

The bathroom has been fitted and tiled, giving it a luxurious and modern finish. The kitchen has also been fitted and tiled.

The rest of the home has also been decorated throughout – next stop the carpets… 


These are the latest transformation photos from March 2018. It’s all coming together now!




We have finally been able to get on with the outside work of the refurbishment project at 12a Birch Grove. Check out the transformation photos!

When the renovations are finished this prime park home property will come on the market for sale, so watch this space.

Follow the transformation project through our Facebook Page! 

Remembering John Kinch

3 October 1929 – 14 November 2016

“I didn’t want to follow other people’s footsteps. I wanted to make my own tread in the snow.”

John Kinch certainly did make his own tread with spectacular freedom from the usual petty rules and conventions which bind and limit so many of us. He believed in himself and stayed true to himself throughout his entire life. He was a man of honour, integrity, of truth and of trust. A man with love and kindness in his huge heart and courage in his soul. He was a husband, father, grandfather, fighter, farmer, miner, boxer, businessman, builder, singer, inventor… and, above all… inspiration.

Here we pay tribute to his life and share the history of John Kinch and how his vision and dedication created The Elms as it is today – a retirement dream for the over 50’s, where so many live happily with peace, tranquillity and security.


John was born in Kington Hospital at 3.20am on 3rd October 1929 into a family of first-generation farmers. He went home to Byton Farm, North Herefordshire, where he grew into a much loved child.

Like many farming children of the time, he was given responsibility from a very young age. As a four year old he was bottle feeding the tiddling lambs which had been rejected by their mothers. When he wasn’t much older, John fulfilled the role of cider carrier for the men working in the fields which of course led to him helping himself to a good drink of his own!

As he grew, John really disliked school. Until he was 10 years old, he walked daily to the local school, but he saw no point in learning about history and such things when all he wanted to do was get home and drive the tractor, which he did from the age of 12. Moving on from the local school, he travelled three and a half miles on his bicycle every day to the top school in Presteigne, where he seized every opportunity to play truant! So when he was 12 he went to Lucton, a prestigious boarding school about ten miles from his home, where, in those days, the dormitories were so cold that any condensation on the children’s blankets froze them. John was frequently and severely ill, and when he finally left school and returned to the farm aged 15 and a half, it took months of good care before he regained his health.

John was never a strong child and, indeed, during his early years, he had to put up with unwanted attention from some pretty serious bullies. But when he moved into his teenage years, John spent many hours building up his strength and made sure he dealt with his bullies and those who bullied others – a natural protector.

When his schooling ended, John threw himself into work with a dedication, drive and enthusiasm which was to stay with him for the whole of his life. He was the farm’s tractor driver, working from dawn to dusk and beyond. For John, work was something to be taken to the highest possible levels of achievement and he never expected others to do anything that he would be unwilling to do himself. Despite his protestations that he was a poor scholar, John had a razor sharp brain with a massive and incisive intelligence which allowed him to expand his business interests into a large and hugely successful series of enterprises. He wasn’t afraid to try something new, venturing from farming into property, transport and even into the ownership of a tin mine in Cornwall which he turned into a valued educational and tourist facility. In each area of his work he found ways to improve quality, yield and outcome. Woe betide anyone who tried to pull the wool over his eyes when it came to doing a job properly, because he could literally see when something was a millimetre out of true.


His drive to achieve the very best standards meant all those who dealt with him could rest assured that he would look after them as he would look after his own. He had the ability to stand back and see solutions where other people may not even be aware of a problem. He was a man of soaring integrity who said that aiming to be the best didn’t mean being better than anyone else.

Working as hard as he did, and having to provide for a growing family, meant that John didn’t have much free time, but when he did he used it well. Not only was he a darts champion, but also a professional boxer. John was also a talented and classically trained singer and did in fact turn down a job with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company.

John’s business empire continued to expand until the 1970’s when, at the age of 48 and through no fault of his own, John was faced with the disastrous loss of much of what he had worked so hard to achieve. But John, unlike many others would have done, picked himself up and went down the mines, where he stayed until he was 53. Although the work in the pit was hard, he added to his own challenges by setting out to rebuild what he had lost, by purchasing The Elms. Using all his strength and working 18 hours a day, John moved between the mine and The Elms, building back up his family’s fortunes. Failure simply did not exist as a possibility in John’s mind.


John had a vision to turn what was then a holiday caravan park into the award winning residential park for the over 50’s that it is today. All the children played their role in helping out over the holidays and weekends but none more so than Stuart, the youngest child who is now Managing Director.

The Elms meant a great deal to John and he really dedicated himself to making what he thought was the best park home park. He undertook research in America on park homes and in true John Kinch style built his own specification park home, not choosing to simply buy an ‘off the shelf’ model but upgrading each and every aspect to create something unique and of a superior standard. He was awarded runner up in the Park Owner of the Year awards in 2005 and won the Bronze accolade for the Elms in the David Bellamy Conservation Award which has now been succeeded to Silver.

During his years John had the great blessing of knowing the enduring love of two beautiful and wonderful women. He met Joy when she was a child, living at Manor Farm, which John’s family had taken on. They both got on well and as time went on, they came together and were married in 1957 and had four children, Ann, Johnny, Tracey and Stuart. When the marriage reached its natural conclusion, John and Joy were able to remain friends.

Later, John was fortunate to meet Marion, a very special lady who had arrived from Canada and was travelling with a friend. After many missed encounters, it was apparent that this was a match that was meant to be; they married and were blessed with the birth of their Son, Sam.


When the time came to say our farewells to John, his efforts and love shone through with an overwhelming amount of people at the church. Many residents of The Elms, along with colleagues, family and friends came to pay their respects. He was a credit to the industry and a beacon of intention for how things should be done. He touched so many people’s lives, giving willingly and without any expectation of reward. Kind and generous, decent and honourable, he helped to change many lives for the better and he will be remembered always.

Exerts taken from his Eulogy, written by Jackie Brockway.

John Kinch - founder of The Elms

new home

September Open Day

Our first Open Day of 2016 will be held on Saturday 14th May. Don’t miss this perfect opportunity to enjoy an informal few hours taking a stroll around The Elms to see for yourself what a move to this award winning park could mean for you. Take time to talk to residents, look in our show homes and homes for sale and take in the beautifully kept scenery.

Refreshments will be available throughout the day along with family and staff to answer any questions you may have. All the homes we have available for sale will be open, so it is a great chance to view a good selection of what is on offer. No appointment is required, just call in to the office on the day to collect your information pack. We will open at 9am and close at 5pm. We look forward to welcoming you!

If you aren’t able to make our Open Day don’t worry. You can come and view The Elms at anytime, by appointment is preferred. We are open 7 days a week, just call the office on 01427 718243 and we’ll be sure to pop the kettle on ready for your arrival.


July Open Day

Open Day

Our second Open Day of the year will take place on Saturday 16th July. Our Open Days are a great opportunity to enjoy a few hours taking a leisurely stroll around The Elms to see for yourself what a move to this award winning park could mean for you. Chat to residents, take a look in our show homes and homes for sale and take in the beautifully kept scenery.

Refreshments will be available throughout the day along with family and staff to answer any questions you may have. All of the homes we have available for sale will be open, so this is a great chance to view a good sample of what is on offer. No appointment is required, just call in to the office on the day to collect your information pack and have a cup of tea!. We will open at 9am and close doors at 5pm. We look forward to welcoming you!

Residents raise over £550

After the success of last years ‘Great Elms Bake Off’ event, we had planned to hold another similar fundraising event on the Elms in August of this year. A ‘Party in the Park’ was the theme, with jazz music, fete games, drinks, a raffle and to bring your own picnic . A chance for residents to acquaint old friends and meet new ones and rally together for a good local cause.

Unfortunately after a glorious week of sunshine the weather was set to take a turn for the worse and we had to take the disheartening decision to cancel or postpone the event until 2016 after being unable to select another appropriate date for this year. Everyone was very much looking forward to the event and it was disappointing. We did however decide to still hold the raffle, selling tickets from the office and our residents united together to make it a resounding success despite the cancellation of the event.

In total our residents raised £564.62 which was split between the local LIVES charity and Torksey Play Area. Pictured is Tracey Coulson handing over the cheques on behalf of our residents to Richard Elliott and Chris Pryke from LIVES and Pat Haskell, Chair of the Play Area Committee.

We had great fun drawing all the winners for the raffle and were delighted to see so many tickets sold. We would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone that took part either donating prizes, buying tickets or both! We gave away 58 prizes from hampers, champagne, whiskey, wine, toiletries, hand crafted gifts and more.

We still hope to reschedule the ‘Party in the Park’ for next year and hope for better weather to make it a wonderful afternoon for our residents.

Living willow arbour at The Elms

Torksey willow-weavers create living art on park

Nimble-fingered residents have helped to create a living willow arbour in the grounds of The Elms Retirement Park, celebrating a centuries-old Lincolnshire craft.

The park residents were joined in their task by local willow artist Alison Walling who is one of the county’s best-known proponents and teachers of the skill.

The creation of the arbour was part of a willow-weaving day organised by the park, and which drew enthusiastic support from many residents.

With careful tending, the arbour – which surrounds a timber bench – should last for many years, according to Tracey Coulson who is a member of the park-owning family.

She says that The Elms, which has more than 300 park homes set in over 60 acres of countryside, has long taken a special pride in helping to protect the natural heritage.

Willow growing, harvesting and basket making was an important source of employment in Lincolnshire in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. In the late 1800’s there were over 320 basket makers in Lincolnshire, rising to over 450 by the early 1920’s.

“This addition to the park will be a reminder of our Lincolnshire heritage and a great feature on the park.” said Tracey Coulson.

The park has been praised in recent times by botanist David Bellamy for its many environmental achievements, and presented with his prestigious conservation award.

Wildlife initiatives have included the planting of high nectar producing shrubs which attract a wide range of butterfly species, and which are irrigated by harvested rainwater.

The park also carefully maintains its three lakes which act as a magnet for many different types of birds and aquatic life, from ducks to dragonflies.

Owls and other bird species are additionally encouraged by the siting of nesting boxes in the grounds, and The Elms has also created wildflower areas where many different varieties flourish.

Many park residents have also helped make The Elms a natural paradise by sustaining wildlife areas in their gardens which provide shelter, habitats and feeding resources for birds and animals.

“We all had a fascinating day in the company of Alison Walling, and learnt a lot about the long history of the willow in Lincolnshire,” said Tracey Coulson.

“The arbour is a magnificent structure in which many people played a part under Alison’s guidance, and we’re really looking forward to seeing it green up next spring!” she added.

Croquet Club in Torksey

The Importance of Exercise for the Over 65’s

We all know that exercise is important. Just like maintaining a healthy diet, exercise can boost your mood, reduce the risk of chronic disease and help prevent health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

But, the older we get, the harder it is to get up and go and so continues the vicious cycle where exercise gives us motivation and motivation leads to exercise, but sometimes you just don’t get one without the other.

You might find this unsurprising, but did you know it’s actually more important to stay active the older you get? Many adults aged 65+ spend an average of ten hours or more each day sitting or lying down, making them the most sedentary age group.

Not only does inactivity increase your risk of falls, obesity, heart disease and early death, compared with the general population, but it also means that all the things you’ve always enjoyed or taken for granted may start to become that little bit harder.

If you’re looking to improve your fitness and overall health, the amount of physical activity you need to do isn’t as unachievable as you might think because it’s defined as anything that gets your body moving, from walking to recreational sport.

In addition to reducing your sedentary time, you are advised to do at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week.

Try to do something every day, preferably in bouts of ten minutes of activity or more. The more you do, the greater the health gains.

Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities include:

• walking fast
• swimming or water aerobics
• riding a bike on level ground
• playing doubles tennis or badminton
• pushing a lawn mower or Hoover

What you can realistically manage is down to you, but it’s a good idea to do activities that you enjoy. At the Elms retirement village there are some great activities you can get involved with locally, here are few we have found. If you have any others you would like to share please don’t hesitate to get in touch:

Torksey Action Group – run many local activity groups including Torksey Ramblers, Croquet Club, Tea Dancing and Torksey Gardeners. 
Lincoln Golf Club located in Torksey Village.
– John Viney an Elms Resident runs local Tai Chi classes.
– Local village halls run other fitness classes such as bowls, pilates and line dancing.
– We are lucky to have two great local leisure centres including West Lindsey Leisure Centre in Gainsborough, and David Lloyd at Burton Waters. For those that suffer with long term health conditions and find it more difficult to increase activity levels there is an exercise referral scheme running at West Lindsey Leisure centre.
Walking for Health also run local walks in the area.

The good news is that people who move from a sedentary to moderately active lifestyle will feel the most benefit in their lives. So why not grab a like minded friend and get moving?

Brand new kitchen from The Elms

May Open Day

Our first Open Day of 2015 will take place on Saturday 9th May. Open Days are a fantastic opportunity to enjoy a few hours taking a stroll around The Elms to see for yourself what a move to this award winning park could mean for you. Refreshments will be available throughout the day along with family and staff to answer any questions you may have. All of the homes we have available for sale will be open, so this is a great chance to view a good sample of what is on offer. No appointment is needed, just call at the office on the day to collect your welcome pack and guide to the Park. Opening times are from 9am to 5pm. We look forward to welcoming you!

new home

July Open Day

Our second open day of the year will be held on Saturday 25 July. Take this opportunity to spend a few hours strolling around The Elms to see for yourself the retirement dream that is waiting for you. All of our homes available for sale will be open to view on the day, so it is a great opportunity to view a large selection of what is on offer here at our award winning park. Refreshments will be available throughout the day along with family and staff to chat to you and answer any questions you may have. No appointment is necessary, just call in at the office on the day to receive your welcome pack and guide to the park. Opening times are from 9am to 5pm. We look forward to welcoming you and will have the kettle on ready!

Tai Chi at The Elms

Karate expert John, 65, helps residents battle advancing years

A karate black-belt pensioner from Torksey, John Viney, is proving that retirement doesn’t have to be just about gentle gardening and trips to the library.

John, who lives at The Elms Retirement Park in the village, has formed the Torksey Dragons Tai Chi Club – which boasts a growing membership of “oldies with attitude”.

With most of the Dragons in their seventies, John at 65 years old is actually one of the youngest at the club which meets every Thursday afternoon in the village hall.

But although John is a 2nd Dan Shotokan Karate expert, the Tai Chi he teaches is not a martial art used in fighting, but a method of promoting physical and psychological health.

Combining deep breathing and relaxation with slow and graceful movements, it is found especially beneficial by older people wishing to improve their overall wellbeing.

It is claimed to reduce stress, improve balance and general mobility, and increase muscle strength.

John says he is delighted that the Dragons club has already attracted around ten members, most of which are also residents at The Elms, with more likely to be joining soon.

A former Birmingham police inspector, John retired from the force aged 55 and went on to work in the city council’s CCTV control centre.

When he reached 60, he and his wife Christine decided to move to Cyprus – but two years down the line, the couple found they were missing their two daughters and grandchildren.

They decided to return to England, and came upon their dream home at The Elms where 300 park homes are set in 60 acres of parkland with nature trails and abundant wildlife.

But John had no intention of taking things easy, or of abandoning his life-long interest in martial arts and the Tai Chi he more recently started to practise when in Cyprus.

He is presently studying for the 3rd Dan in Shotokan Karate, and earlier this year reached Level 4 in Tai Chi, just one stage away from the highest competence stage of Level 5.

As well as teaching his own Dragons, John also holds regular weekly Tai Chi sessions at the DW Sports Fitness Centre in Gainsborough.

“Tai Chi is a fantastic way to build flexibility and to gain a host of other health benefits such as better breathing, almost regardless of how old you are,” said John.

“It’s a very low impact form of exercise which means that there’s little pressure on bones and joints, and your flexibility can improve almost immediately.

“But what many people also greatly value is the state of mental relaxation which is achieved by Tai Chi, and which can bring real long-term psychological benefits,” said John.

But although the Zen-like state which Tai Chi can induce is part of its appeal, John prefers to be on full alert when enjoying another of his favourite pastimes: piloting aircraft around the world.

John does this on a Boeing flight simulator kept in an outhouse at his home on The Elms, but says he always schedules a return landing in time for his next Tai Chi class.

* New members are always welcome at the Torksey Dragons Tai Chi Club, and can simply turn up at 3.00pm on any Thursday afternoon at Kettlethorpe Village Hall. Sessions are £3.00 each.