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Grantham back garden observatory set to be featured on Channel 4's George Clarke's Amazing Spaces

A Grantham man who built an observatory in his back garden will have his work showcased on television.

Steve Parker spent three months in the first lockdown creating an observatory in the back garden of his Sandon Road house.

Steve posted the observatory on his Instagram page, hashtagging George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, and to his surprise was contacted by the show.

The observatory has a retractable roof. (44019584)
The observatory has a retractable roof. (44019584)

After a visit from a cameraman between the first and second national lockdown, Steve’s project is due to be showcased on an episode of George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces on January 28 at 8pm.

Working on the project between March and June last year, around three quarters of the material that Steve used was reclaimed or recycled. However, he still thinks that the project set him back around £1,300 to create.

The observatory has a fully retractable roof, offering Steve the ideal space to enjoy his hobby of photographing the night sky.

During the day, 57-year-old Steve runs ETS Removals and Storage Limited. He used two reclaimed storage boxes from his depot to help create the observatory’s structure.

Steve also used old patio slabs for the footprint of the observatory, and bought reclaimed railway sleepers, which helped form the retractable roof.

He was also given some corrugated iron for the walls, with Steve noting that he liked the “look and style” that the material added to the construction.

Although he had never undertaken a project quite as ambitious as this, the idea of creating an observatory had been on Steve’s mind well before lockdown, but the restrictions put in place back in March 2020 offered a perfect opportunity for him.

The observatory will be featured on Channel 4 on January 28. (44019581)
The observatory will be featured on Channel 4 on January 28. (44019581)

Steve said: “It was always getting around to it and getting the motivation. I did have it in mind to do it before lockdown, but because of lockdown it sort of motivated me thinking that I could crack on with it and use the time up.

“I’m well chuffed with it. I’d like to get more use of it but these clouds won’t clear off .”

Steve is an avid photographer of the night sky and you can view his impressive set of images on his Instagram: SteveParker63.

It was also on the social media site that he attracted the attention of Channel 4.

Steve said: “I put The Observatory on my Instagram and hashtagged George Clarke, but I didn’t know at that point that he’d been saying at the end of the very last programme that they couldn’t show the last four because of Covid but anybody that had got a lockdown project to please get in touch.

“Because it was “amazing spaces”, I’m cheeky enough just to send it out to him anyway. I thought I’d just see what he thinks about it.

“I was still quite surprised when I heard back, it certainly gave me, my wife, and daughters a chuckle.

“They were allowed to come out and film and create these programmes because it’s good for people’s mental health to have some sort of entertainment.

Steve had an interest in the night sky as a teenager, but his passion for that and astronomy was re-ignited seven years ago and has snowballed since then.

Steve added: “I didn’t actually meet George Clarke, he didn’t come out, but he voices over it when he does the programme. It’ll be interesting to hear what he says actually.

“I’ve also emailed them two or three of my pictures from Instagram of space, so I’m hoping they are going to show those as well.”

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