Published: October 25, 2012
Brean Leisure Park's founder dies at the age of 95

Pensioner Bert House, who was instrumental in setting up Brean's successful Leisure Park, has peacefully passed away at the age of 95 this week.

A celebration of his life will take place at 3pm on Monday 29th October at St Mary’s Church in Berrow.

Bert was born in Mark on December 14th, 1917 and lived with his mother Edith and father John. His eldest sister, Betty, is now 98. He lost his brothers, Donald and Jim, and his second sister Peggy.

He went to school at Sexeys in Blackford and often recounted how he had to milk the cows before and after school.

The family moved to Woolston Farm in Stogursey to try and keep his father, out of the pub since he enjoyed his cider so much. However, the move did not really work because he simply bought a car and still went to the pub!

Bert lost his eye in his teenage years while rabitting with his future brother-in -law Graham Duckham. He had spells working with relations in West Wales and also at Brean Down Farm before securing a job as Farm Manager at Langham Farm in Gillingham, Dorset.

He met his wife, Marie Harris, when he was at Brean Down and she was at Westcroft Farm in Brent Knoll. Bert had a Royal Enfield motorbike and recounted how one night on their way back from Weston they met some cows on Wick Lane and they both fell off!

He married Marie in 1946 with Richard was born in 1947. He moved to Unity in 1947 when Marie’s Uncles retired from farming with their sisters.

Bert bought the farm around 1953 with help from the Harris family. He met Fred Pontin in 1947 and built a road to the beach with an old Fordson tractor by pulling out all the anti-invasion posts on the beach.

He was approached by George Farmer, Managing Director of Land Rover, to put a caravan on the paddock at around this time and this was to be the start of caravans at Unity. In the 1960’s he managed to get permission for 80 caravans and the rest was history. The farm was 150 acres in size and the resort is now 300. Many thousands of families have enjoyed their holidays at Unity over the years and some long-standing visitors are now returning with their grandchildren.

A real character, he once sacked George Smith, his cowman, three times in one day. The cows went in 1976 but Bert loved a challenge so decided to go cattle dealing and spent ten years buying and selling cattle, mostly from Maurice Wall at Highbridge Market and his friends in the horse racing world were often involved.

The cattle later moved out and the caravans moved in and Bert was instrumental in starting Brean Leisure Park. After Tony Jacklin won the Open, it was then called Mid Somerset Golf Centre. It had a driving range, pitch and putt and a café. Les Wilsher and Albert Clarke joined the venture but the centre needed other attractions for familis, hence the development of Brean Leisure Park and the adjoining Unity Farm caravan park.

Bert semi-retired in the late 80‘s but kept a finger on the pulse and even last week, when he was in the park's Tavern pub asked how the business was doing.

The holiday and leisure business has grown to be one of the largest independently owned holiday resorts in the country and continues under the House family's ownership and management.

Bert passed away peacefully on October 19th aged 95, just eight weeks before his 96th birthday. Donations can be made to the Injured Jockeys Fund, who Bert supported by organizing a Celebrity Pro Am Golf Tournament in June each year at Brean Golf Club with many jockeys playing.

 


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