29 April 2023
Neil Masterman: 1929 to 2023
We look back on the working life of Neil Masterman, the founder of Masterman Park Homes Ltd, a name that’s been well-known and respected within our industry for more than 40 years…
Prior to his time in the mobile homes industry, Neil was a Fellow in the Chartered Institute of Builders (FCIOB) – the highest award offered by the organisation.
In 1971, Neil began letting for caravans and chalets while still in the building industry. He bought his first park, Fairview Park, at Wayford Bridge, Stalham in 1980. The site was completely renovated, and the caravans replaced with Omar mobile homes.
A big moment
Neil more formally entered the world of trading caravans and park homes having opened Mastermans head office in Wymondham in May 1983, after a period trading from the garden of the family home, selling second hand caravans until his wife Rosemary eventually asked for her garden back!
Neil was granted his first site licence as a park owner operator after the purchase of a site that went on to become Redhill Park, in Watton, in July 1986. Neil sold the park in 2004 after his beloved wife Rosemary passed away.
Mastermans Park Homes Ltd continues to this day, operating the length and breadth of East Anglia, and beyond. The company not only sells homes, but also hires static caravans and park homes for those involved in long term building projects, to farmers, and other land owners. Incredibly, during all this time, Masterman has only ever purchased Omar homes (aside from a very brief period when Omar was not trading). In fact, over his lifetime, Neil ordered around 2,000 Omar homes – this equates to around £180m of business at today’s prices!
Omar Group chairman, Dean Westmoreland, who delivered a touching tribute speech to Neil at his funeral, said: ‘Neil was a fantastically gifted and highly intelligent entrepreneur who was also extremely creative. He was also a caring family man; his immense drive and focus came from a desire to provide for his family.
‘I know Neil’s family are very proud of him. He was a pragmatic, straight talking Yorkshireman, a family man, businessman, and it’s been my pleasure and privilege to work with him for the last 14 years. My heartfelt thoughts to all of his family and friends. Neil, we will miss you, you were a true gentleman, and a great example and role model to us all. God bless you!’
Neil was a big supporter of the mobile home industry and its trade bodies, the National Caravan Council (NCC) and British Holiday and Home Parks Association (BH&HPA). To the very end Neil’s focus on business remained – he never retired – and his daughter Julie, who worked with her dad in the family business, was always aware of who the boss was!
Neil passed away on 17 February 2023, a day short of his 94th birthday. Neil’s funeral took place on 1 March at his local church, St Nicholas’ in Norwich, where he was laid to rest. His wake was held at Norwich City Football Club, where a large display of park home and caravan memorabilia illustrated his long service to the industry. Neil’s name was also in lights on the scoreboard throughout the day – a fitting tribute to a passionate Norwich City supporter.
Neil and his wife, Rosemary, were married for more than 50 years. They had five daughters, along with many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who will all miss him very much.
Article courtesy of Park Home and Holiday Living Magazine