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KATIE FRANKS


Katie Franks and her Alpaca


Adventure BY PHIL SCOBLE


beautiful home, “you fall in love with these creatures and just want to get to know them and have more!” She’s talking about her growing herd of alpacas – beautiful creatures who are curious, affectionate and Katie’s passion. Alpacas are the smaller relatives of


“I


llamas, and have been bred for their fleece in South America for thousands of years. Katie wears a hat made from the fibre that she dyed and felted herself which is very warm and light. “It is a commitment,” she tells me,


“They live for 20 years or more, and for them to be content you really should have three or more – we have ten at the moment. You can’t get in


t’s about love,” Katie Franks tells me on the door of her


for the short term! I can’t imagine not having them.” Born in Aberdeen in 1944, Katie has obviously acquired her inquiring mind from her father: an eminent chemist who ended up heading the Department of Scientific and Industrial


it’s time to settle down, Katie said, and the alpacas are the perfect answer.


Research – charged with inspiring and funding research that would benefit the whole nation. In her early years, Katie said she had


a reputation as a free spirit – or was a naughty girl as some of her teachers would have it – before channeling her energies into sports at school and


beyond: she was a keen rider, swimmer, ice skater and tennis player. After attending Cheltenham Ladies College she studied Law, Economics and Sociology at Exeter University. It was during this time she met her future husband Nicko, who taught her to water- ski at Newton Ferrers! Nicko’s naval career meant their


married life was never going to be quiet or simple. A few weeks after they tied the knot he jumped on a ship bound for Singapore. Katie planned to join him after a few months, but had to ask her father for £10 for a plane ticket: “He wasn’t pleased,” she recalls, “He


said: ‘Why do you have a husband?’ to which I replied ‘Why do I have a father?’ He gave me the money I needed.” It set the pattern of their lives together, moving from place to place as Nicko’s role demanded, and Katie tells wonderful tales of their adventures all around the world, from Hong Kong to Italy, America and Australia. The couple have three children and seem to have embraced and enjoyed their lifestyle. But now it’s time to settle down, Katie said, and the alpacas are the perfect answer. Katie and Nicko have lived in their


home, nestled in a valley on the road to Stoke Fleming, since 2004, and Katie said after a life of constant travel and moving around she made a conscious decision to take on the task of looking


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