By Lisa CleverdonHE is better known as the "dream maker" to his family and friends – and one look at his self-made paradise and it is not difficult to see why.
By Lisa Cleverdon
HE is better known as the “dream maker” to his family and friends - and one look at his self-made paradise and it is not difficult to see why.
John Kemp has spent the past 20 years creating what has become one of East Anglia's leading vineyard tourist attractions and has dedicated his life to nurturing his 28-acre estate, which is enjoyed by hundreds of visitors every year.
But Mr Kemp and his wife Jeanie have now decided to bid a fond farewell to Giffords Hall, Hartest, and have put their home up for sale, with it expected to fetch up to about £1million.
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The couple's estate features 10,000 grapevines, a winery, organic vegetable gardens, wild flower meadows and an array of wildlife.
Mrs Kemp, 55, said the idea of selling the estate had first been thought up in February when she and her husband took their first proper holiday in almost 13 years.
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“We cannot afford to pay for people to do all the work for us, so we have to have to do most things ourselves,” she added.
A normal day for the couple begins at about 6.30am when her husband gets up to feed the animals on the estate. After making sure everything is ready for bed and breakfast guests, they begin work on the vineyards and get ready to greet tourists before finally finishing at about 9pm.
“We have had some wonderful years here, but we have never been able to do things that most people take for granted, like visiting friends and family or simply going out for dinner or to the pub,” said Mrs Kemp.
“John is 65 next year and we decided to quit while we are still in control because if something happened to one of us, there is no way the other one could keep the estate going.”
Mrs Kemp joined her husband at the estate 13 years ago, when he was first thinking of selling up. “We are so pleased we stayed. We absolutely love it here and we feel so lucky to have had the chance to fulfil our dreams,” she said.
“Sometimes things get hard and tiring, but John always reminds me that life is just a game really and we have to enjoy every minute of it, which we do.”
Mrs Kemp added: “It will be sad to leave, but we have so many happy memories. We hope to have enough money from the sale of the hall to buy a little cottage in the area somewhere.
“I know we will find plenty of things to keep us busy when we leave and John is guaranteed to come up with another idea of some sort. Everyone calls him the dream maker because he just makes things happen - and I never know what he is going to do next.”
n Vineyards in East Anglia are opening their doors to the public as part of English Wine Week, which runs until Sunday.
Tastes of Anglia, in association with English Wine Producers Association and Food from Britain, are promoting vineyards in the region that are open to the public for vineyard tours, free tastings and special offers.
Participating restaurants and farm shops will also be offering a choice of English wines to their customers. For more information, log on to www.tastesofanglia.com or www.englishwineproducers.com.