■ The model loved her old schoolhouse in Kent with its Doctor Who connection
NANCY SORRELL is a woman of many parts. From appearing on shows as diverse as I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!, The Crystal Maze and Through The Keyhole, the multi-talented Nancy has also been a successful model and a singer, featuring on Jeff Beck’s last album and UK tour. The 45-year-old, who is married to Jim Moir, aka Vic Reeves, has just launched her own YouTube channel covering fun, fashion, make-up and family life.
When did you buy your first property?
Jim and I bought our first property together in Boughton Malherbe, Kent, in 2003. I was 29. It was an old schoolhouse at the top of a hill, next to a church, by a graveyard. I really loved it. The time was perfect for us.
How did you find the place?
We were first introduced to the house when our friends [actor] Tom Baker and his wife Sue invited us round for lunch. We had a great time and we fell in love with the house. Then, they mentioned during dinner that they were thinking of selling. We said we would love the chance to buy the house so when they had fully decided to sell, we were first in line. I knew this was the house we should start our lives together in.
What was it like?
It was such a beautiful house with so much character. There was a lovely drive going up to the house with stunning front and back gardens. The drive went around to the garage, on top of which was a big room which we made into our music room, with keyboards and drums so all the family could indulge in a sing-song when we got together. It was an old schoolhouse and very church-like. As you went into the house it had quite a cottagey feel but then you would walk into the main room and gasp out loud. This was a stunningly huge room that used to be a classroom.
What did you do with the property?
[The whole place] had such a beautiful atmosphere, with high ceilings and huge fireplaces. We turned an office downstairs into an added bedroom for guests. When you walked into the back of the house through the large room, it instantly became cosy again. I used to love walking up the stairs as there was a huge, arched window on the landing. It was breathtaking and out of that window you could see the churchyard — it was quite a spiritual view.
What is your best memory there?
I have a lot of lovely memories from the house. One year, it snowed so much we were actually snowed in. We have fabulous photos of Jim and I surrounded by snow drifts that were 7ft-high in places. Another great memory was when we did a pregnancy test and it was positive. I ran around the house screaming with absolute joy and excitement.
How long did you stay in the old schoolhouse?
We were there for three years and, as much as we didn’t want to move, we needed more space for the twins. But I will always have a soft spot for that property. We moved from one stunning place to another and are now in a gorgeous Victorian family home in Kent. In fact, we moved into the new house on May 9, 2006, and on May 25 the twins were born.
What was the single most important thing you learned from buying your first place?
It’s a great idea to start saving as soon as you get a job. My motto was and still is: save, save, save as much or as little as you can afford. Then, when you get to the right age and in a position to get on the property ladder, you have some money put by to help you with a deposit.
What does buying property mean to you?
Buying property for me was so important, especially when I met Jim and we fell in love, because having our first house together just felt very special. We recently bought another property in Deal for holidays. Buying property is a great investment, as well.
Area guide: Boughton Malherbe
BOUGHTON Malherbe is a tiny parish that sounds like it belongs in a JRR Tolkien novel. A 2011 census stated that there were fewer than 500 people living in the village, which is situated in the north of the Weald of Kent, next to Grafty Green, and has views of the South Downs and to the sea. There are two pubs, a village hall, a post office and a 16th-century manor house. Properties for sale are period, with a selection of barn conversions for a bit more space. The average house price in Boughton Malherbe is £351,620, according to rightmove.co.uk