Last month one of our holiday home owners celebrated a very special birthday. Nina Andrews is an owner at Church Farm who not only turned 91 in July, but has also been an owner at Church Farm since 1940 – that makes 2013 her 73rd year on park!
The team at Church Farm never need a reason to celebrate, but this was an occasion they couldn’t resist going the extra mile. Nina, or Nana Moon as she is often known, is a well loved member of the Church Farm community and when it was posted on Facebook that she was celebrating her 91st birthday she was inundated with birthday messages. The team printed them all off for her to read through and she now carries them around with her in her handbag! They went to surprise her at her holiday home with a birthday card, a bottle of Bailey’s (which we hear is her favourite) and an Anxious balloon, and she was absolutely thrilled.
We wanted to get to know Nana a little better and gave a member of the team at Church Farm the task of interviewing her for us. Julie works at Church Farm as a Park Trainer, as well as other odd jobs like helping with owner events and last week she was helping a black swan that’s being picked on in the lagoon! Her job involves lots of talking to people, which she is very good at! When asked to described Nina, Julie said “Nina is like Church Farm royalty. Everyone knows Nina, no matter how old or young – she’s got a family of hundreds when she’s here, she’s our Nana.”
And this is what happened when reporter Julie met with Nana last week…
J: Why did you first become an owner at Church Farm in 1940?
N: When my husband was alive we had a caravan that we travelled in, like a camper van, and we travelled everywhere. And as a child my mother had an old travelling caravan – no water, no nothing, it was awful! Not even a toilet! Never mind, it was good fun, good times. So we’ve always had caravans in the family.
J: What have been your highlights of memories over the years?
N: Years ago we used to have those lovely barbeque parties on the green opposite me, it was a big empty green with all caravans round the edge and the middle was empty for everybody to play in. The staff used to bring the tables over, and lay out the food, and we had a band, and we danced and had barbeques…
J: We should do that again, sounds like fun! Why did you choose to buy a caravan at Church Farm?
N: I don’t know really, I suppose because we just came here...I don’t know…
J: Because it’s the best (wink)?
N: (Laughs) It’s spacious and roomy, right near the beach, right near Bognor. It’s lovely.
J: What are the biggest changes you’ve seen over the years?
N: The biggest changes…we used to have the old lanes, now we’ve got proper roads and lovely lighting, and it’s all clean and tidy.
J: I suppose when you first came to park it was a bit like a massive field?
N: Yeah! It’s all been cleaned up now.
J: What do you like to do most when you are at your caravan?
N: Puzzles! I don’t watch television.
J: Jigsaw puzzles?
N: No – like crossword puzzles in books. I’ve even got a small one so I can put it in my handbag – look! (Gets a crossword book out of her handbag)
J: Ahhh I see! I’ll pick you some up if you like next time I go to town! What else do you like to do?
N: I like watching people, people are fascinating. I like to go for walks, it’s good for you! And I like to watch the footie…
J: Who do you support? (says Julie, an avid Gooner)
N: Manchester United
J: I’m not sure we can be friends anymore Nina!!
N: Ahhh well! (Laughs and shrugs)
J: Okay lastly, what’s your favourite thing about Church Farm and being a caravan owner?
N: Um just being down here really. The scenery and the whole park… the whole place is nice isn’t it? It’s not a town, if it was a town I wouldn’t be down here. The space, the people – there’s some nice owners and friends down here. Also, the staff… the staff are lovely.
After 73 years of owning a holiday home at Church Farm Nina’s favourite things remain the simple ones: the beach, the open spaces, the community, the team and the beautiful surroundings, and we couldn’t agree more.
Happy Birthday and congratulations Nina, from all of us at Haven!