From Sandgate to Zimbabwe: Film brings former resident back home


A man has returned to his childhood home of Sandgate, Folkestone, as part of a film re-tracing his journey halfway around the world in a Land Rover and caravan.

John Adams lived with his parents and siblings above their butchery shop at 94 Sandgate High Street for several years before their expedition to what is now Zimbabwe.

The old butcher's shop that John's father owned. Photo: Red 5 Films
The old butcher’s shop that John’s father owned. Photo: Red 5 Films

The film No Parking in Africa will recreate his family’s journey, a project that brought John and his son Joshua, a freelance filmmaker and owner of Red Five Films, back to Sandgate.

It will involve the pair completing the trip 60 years on, with the footage interspersed with original recordings of the 1959 expedition.

The name is inspired by a daily struggle the family experienced travelling through Africa; it was nigh impossible to park the car and caravan safely.

John explained: “It was my parents plan to record the 1959 journey on film and for my mother to write a book about our adventures.

“However, life took over and the book was never written.”

The family in Africa with their Land Rover. Photo: Red 5 Films
The family in Africa with their Land Rover. Photo: Red 5 Films

Sandgate holds many treasured memories for John, not least his father’s business catchphrase.

Trading as H D Stevenson, Jack Adams came up with the phrase “Pleased to meat you, meat to please you!”

The shop, now no longer a butchery, still has the original distinct red brick facade.

Many funny memories from the family’s journey stand out to John, including his father sitting on a rock to change a puncture only to discover, too late, that the rock was in fact an active anthill.

However there were also serious stories, coming out of a year of change in Africa when many countries gained their independence.

A snapshot of John in the upcoming film. Photo: Red 5 Films
A snapshot of John in the upcoming film. Photo: Red 5 Films

The family faced armed border guards, bush fires and more on the journey, but John hopes that the story will be a positive true life adventure that will encourage others to be bold and adventurous.

The pair are planning to begin the return journey from Sandgate in October 2020, ending at the beach in Cape Town where his mother and father’s ashes were scattered.

John continues to work on his book. He is keen to identify a farm in Hawkinge where the caravan was parked and hear from any who may remember their family from the 1950s.

Joshua is actively seeking funding, partners, vehicles and sponsorship to help finance and support next year’s adventure.

Source: KentOnline