After tackling the stresses of significant health issues and then the challenges of organising major fundraising campaigns, James Harwood was keen to make the process of buying his first house as simple as possible! That was one of the many reasons he chose a new Bovis Home
Back in 2013, Sandbach designer James was diagnosed with a brain tumour and underwent surgery that year. Unfortunately, two years later it came back, meaning he needed surgery again this January.
"I wanted a home that would be ready to move into and not need lots of money spending on it," James, 30, says. "I have had enough to deal with over the last three years and I just needed the experience to be as smooth as possible - which it has been!"
James had visited all of the new developments in the Sandbach area, and after looking around the three-bedroom Southwold at Bovis Homes' Saxon Lea location, he knew he had found his ideal home.
"As soon as I entered the house, I knew it was perfect. I love the open-plan layout downstairs and it completely suits my lifestyle," he says. "Upstairs is also just right. A great sized master bedroom with an en suite and lots of storage for my clothes! The guest room is also a really good size and the office is ideal!"
For many people buying a home can be an adventure in itself, but while recovering after his operation, and sick of watching daytime television, James decided he needed a challenge to work towards and booked a trip to Peru.
"I have always wanted to visit South America. The idea of learning about ancient civilisations is totally fascinating and after seeing it on Karl Pilkington's 'An Idiot Abroad' I just thought it was something I had to do!" he says.
So James will be trekking the Inca Trail up to Machu Picchu, raising money for The Brain Tumour Charity which funds medical research and gives support to people affected by brain tumours.
"It will be 10 days of trekking between seven and 10 hours a day, including walking up the 'Dead Woman's Pass' which is at an altitude of about 14,000ft. The lack of oxygen and potential for altitude sickness doesn't fill me with joy!"
But this isn't James' first challenge. When his colleagues found out about his Peru trip, they too were keen to help with the fundraising effort. As they were unable to all have the time off to join him on the Inca Trail, the group created 'Tour21'. To celebrate the 21st birthday of Parker Design Consultants (the company James works for), he and 14 others cycled 210 miles between the organisation's two offices in London and Northwich.
"The camaraderie kept us going, especially on the last day. We were fortunate no one fell off their bike and we only had one puncture," explains James. "We have raised nearly £14,000, which is fantastic!"
Although living just a few miles down the road in Haslington, James was keen to return to Sandbach, where he had previously lived for 20 years.
"All of my family and friends live in Sandbach, so the location was perfect," James says. "I love my countryside walks and I'm only a matter of minutes from the canal path and being in the middle of nowhere. I'm also only a short walk from Sandbach town centre - ideal for the weekend. I'm unable to drive at the moment due to the surgery, so it's great that I'm just 15 minutes away from a train station. In a nutshell, it ticked all of the boxes!"
James used the Help to Buy equity loan scheme and was over the moon with the service provided by sales advisor, Laura.
"The process has been so smooth and hand on heart I can say that it has all been down to Laura. She has been amazing. I had visited each new development in the Sandbach area and she was part of the reason I was sold on this house."
Before setting off to walk the Inca Trail, Laura wished James good luck and presented him with a cheque for £300 from Bovis Homes for The Brain Tumour Charity.
If you would like to find out more about the new homes at Saxon Lea, visit www.bovishomes.co.uk.
To contribute to James Harwood's fundraising, visit www.justgiving.com/ParkerDesign.