Village steaming over Redcoats in a hot tub

Aldbury residents and even The Gazette were taken in by an April Fool's joke in a village magazine.

Taking her lead from the growing speculation surrounding the refurbishment of Stocks House at Aldbury, the editor of Aldbury Outlook Andrea Moore, joined forces with the owners to play a trick.


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The former Stocks Hotel and Golf Club, is currently being transformed into a family home for Alison Swinburn and her famous jockey husband Walter.

The initial decision outraged hundreds of golf club members, who banded together to raise money to buy the course from previous owner Peter Harris, a famous horse trainer.

Mr Harris withdrew a planning application to alter the golf course in 2005 and later in the year Mr Swinburn submitted a planning application to restore the historic house to its former glory.

There has been much speculation as to how the finished family home will look, especially since the building is covered by plastic sheeting.

So when Andrea was visiting the house to take a photograph for the cover of the magazine, she mentioned to the Swinburns how the villagers were all curious to see what was underneath the sheeting.

Andrea said: "Mr Swinburn made a joke about how it could make a good April Fool's joke and he came up with the article."

The spoof claimed a huge mound of soil in the garden was created by deep excavations for a new jacuzzi and nightclub in-keeping with the house's Playboy history.

Stocks was used as a training camp for Playboy bunnies during the 70s and 80s and a giant jacuzzi was installed by Playboy executive Victor Lowndes.

Mr Swinburn wrote that the jacuzzi/nightclub would now be used to train Butlins recruits and to hold salsa and pole-dancing lessons – welcome entertainment for stable owners and golf club members!

The joke, in the April edition of Aldbury Outlook, did fool a few people, despite the magazine's 10-year tradition of commemorating April 1.

In previous years it has stated that the village pond was to be tarmaced over for more parking and when the Euro was introduced, it said villagers would be able to exchange their pounds for Euros in the village post office and use them to buy things there.

Mrs Swinburn said the plastic sheeting will be removed in June to reveal the house's exterior and people will be able to see that the roof has been completed.

The beautiful house has been taken back to its original design and the jacuzzi and clubhouse have been removed.

Work continues on the interior and it is hoped the project will be finished in November.

She said: "It has been a labour of love and we have been lucky to have been working with a fabulous architect and construction company. The end is in sight and I look forward to moving in with my family."