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Article by Janice Morley 

Have you ever been served caviar and champagne in the surf by white gloved waiters? Laura Broad and Brian Flack have. It would be difficult not to envy the lifestyle of these professional music makers, both 39, who travel the world with their band on board high-end cruise ships, play in headline clubs on Caribbean islands and at private parties for the super-rich. Brian says: “Cliff Richard asked us to perform for a friend of his celebrating his birthday in Barbados.”

But Brian and Laura are not in the surf today as they chat. They are at home, in their spacious and luxurious three-bedroom apartment overlooking the Hampshire countryside. These first-time buyers live at Gun Hill Park – the award-winning, magnificent conversion by Weston Homes of the Grade II-listed former Cambridge Military Hospital. Famously inspired by Florence Nightingale, the Victorian hospital in the military town of Aldershot is now reborn as apartments and houses. Part of The Wellesley Estate, a vibrant neighbourhood, it’s surrounded by rolling woodland and open green space.

Brian and Laura’s large and light living space never fails to impress their friends. The high ceilings, tall sash windows, honey-coloured leather furniture and rugs in swirling cappuccino colours work stunningly with the silky-grey, high-gloss fitted kitchen, divided by a cocktail bar-cum-breakfast bench. It never fails to impress Brian, either. He says he still finds it hard to believe they own it – because running your own business is not all champagne and caviar. Life deals out the drama when you least expect it.

Like millions of people the world over, Brian and Laura’s business collapsed because of Covid-19. Songwriter and guitarist Brian is the money man in this relationship. Before Covid struck, he had everything sorted for a great year. Their books were full of gigs for their four-piece high-energy party band, Coyote, and lead vocalist Laura had multiple single star appearances lined up. Brian says: “The money was as good as in the bank.” Then the world shut down, “and we watched £100,000 float away, disappear in front of us.”


The couple, both music school-trained performers, met on a cruise ship in 2012. Laura had been hired as a single singing and dancing act. Brian was a guitarist. With cheeky understatement, he says today that he saw her back then and thought “she was all right”; so all right, in fact, that they got married.

Brian’s family are from Farnborough in Hampshire, while Laura’s are from Kidderminster in Worcestershire. Pre-Covid, for convenience, the couple rented a flat in a converted convent in Farnborough – Brian is keen on historical conversions. But with no work coming in as people locked down, money for the rent soon ran out. Laura’s mum provided the safety blanket, taking them into her Kidderminster home. Laura says: “We were literally back in my old bedroom.” Which is where they stayed for 19 months. Brian takes up the story: “As Covid came to an end we got some good work coming in, and we just saved and saved. We did not have to pay rent, which was amazing.”

A year ago they were still with mum and Laura was on a home search site when she found Gun Hill Park. “I had seen it advertised pre-Covid but I never thought we could afford to live there,” she recalls. “I got quite excited about it. We chose this flat. Brian was so scared of being disappointed that he would not let me talk to him about it!” Brian says: “It was just too good to be true. It had three bedrooms, three parking spaces thrown in… I could not cope with the thought of losing it.”

Coyote was on tour as the couple’s dream approached reality. With the tension mounting, Brian could stand it no longer. “When the tour ended and the ship docked we just drove straight here. We had come from broke, I didn’t know whether we could afford it but we wanted to talk to the sales team.”

Laura had heard about the government Help to Buy scheme. “It was perfect for us because we knew that in five years’ time we would be able to pay back the extra loan. It is a shame that Help to Buy is not available to first-time buyers now because it plugged the gap for us.” With the help of a specialist mortgage broker for the self-employed, they signed the deal.

Brian was blown away by the conversion into their apartment. “Everyone who sees it says ‘Wow!’ We even have a bathroom each. So much is included in the price – we have the luxury of the fabulous bathrooms, glass-mirrored cupboards that don’t steam up, water-saving techy taps, and all this stuff. And we both have a lot of costumes for tour so the fitted cupboards and storage is everything we need.”

After a year they are feeling the benefits of the Weston Homes passion for great insulation and the green economy. Laura was delighted when she discovered after their first winter at Gun Hill Park they had overpaid by £1,000 on their energy bills. This is a low-cost home on every level.

Keen to meet their neighbours they threw a party last Halloween. Brian says: “We know a lot of people, and we all use the app for sharing news and borrowing things. It is an amazing place.” Because work takes them away, he says, “we look forward to coming home. It’s peaceful, it’s ours, it’s a piece of heaven.”

Photography by Juliet Murphy