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Choice Mortgages director John Tidswell to retire from Stamford firm to focus on his lawn that’s come 2nd in Britain’s Best Lawn competition twice

A mortgage adviser who has helped thousands of people onto the property ladder is retiring after 30 years.

Stepping down from Choice Mortgages in Stamford will give John Tidswell plenty of time to enjoy his second home in France – and tend to his much-loved lawn in Deeping Gate.

The company director hit national headlines nearly a decade ago when he twice took second place in the Britain’s Best Lawn competition. It is his pride and joy when he’s not helping people to buy their dream homes.

John Tidswell is retiring from Choice Mortgages in Stamford
John Tidswell is retiring from Choice Mortgages in Stamford

John said: “My wife Claire likes to enter competitions and one day out of the blue she asked me for a photo of my lawn. She entered it into the competition and the next thing I know we’ve got three judges in the garden inspecting it.”

The lawn continues to be a source of pride for John, with the couple’s springer spaniel Frank only allowed to set foot on the borders.

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As well as gardening and trips to France, John will also have more time to play golf and volunteer at the Boundary Snooker Club in Market Deeping when he retires next month.

John's much-loved lawn
John's much-loved lawn

The 59-year-old has witnessed big changes in the industry since taking up his first mortgage role in the 1990s. His early deals involved securing mortgages for two-bedroom homes costing £30,000. Today the same properties cost upwards of £200,000.

But John has taken great pleasure in helping people through such a milestone in their lives, even supporting the children of some of his earliest customers years later.

He said: “I’ve had a great time and really enjoyed the job.

“People come to us because a mortgage is a massive financial undertaking and they want that reassurance. Ultimately a mortgage is a means to an end and it’s about helping people to find the right deal that allows them to buy their dream house.”

Although he enjoyed maths as a schoolboy and had a flair for mental arithmetic, John’s early career wasn’t with numbers but with the Army. He served in the Grenadier Guards for 11 years and upon leaving completed a six-week IT course.

He took a job in Spalding selling life insurance and pensions before moving to Sharman Quinney estate agents in Peterborough for six years.

In 2000 John joined forces with Brian Speller of Crown Partnership before they rebranded the firm as Choice Mortgages, located in Red Lion Street, Stamford. Although John will retire as its director next month, he will continue to be a shareholder.

Since making the decision to retire John has gradually been handing over his responsibilities to fellow directors Nicola Bentman and Tony Senior.

He said: “I’d been thinking about retirement for a couple of years and after sadly losing a couple of my friends, it felt like the time was right. I will miss the job but I’m looking forward to having more time to myself.”

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