Marc Tucky (theatrical name Marc) was born in Solihull, Warwickshire and was privately educated at a prep school before moving onto private school.
When he left school, Marc joined his father’s printing company where he worked for a while as an estimator before moving to Crockradee near Banbury and spent the next 10 years learning the antiques trade.
“I was like a real life Lovejoy, I would go into the back of beyond to some old farmhouse and find a treasure hidden away somewhere.
“I learnt my trade the hard way by going to all the auctions and speaking to the antique dealers – in those days people were willing to help anyone who wanted to learn the business. I learnt an enormous amount about the antiques business and had a great deal of fun for 10 years.”
In 1987, because his mother-in-law had become ill, Marc and his family moved to Niton, only 10 days before the big storm in the autumn of 1987.
“I remember the previous owner of the house we had just bought saying that it was a bit of a windy spot. The property was located right on the edge of the downs and after the storm I thought, ‘what the hell have I bought here?’”
Marc quickly came to the conclusion that the antiques business on the Island was pretty much sewn up, so he went back to his original trade and secured a part-time job as a print estimator with Crossprint. Marc and his wife Jane remained in Niton for many years until they agreed to an amicable divorce and Marc moved to Porchfield where he still lives today.
A full-time position came up with West Island Printers in Freshwater where he stayed as an estimator for 13 years and this was where he met Gay Baldwin.”
Marc got to know Gay quite well. “Gay was an established writer about ghosts on the Island, and had come to us for an estimate to print her next book. I was intrigued at the time because the title of the book was The Newport Ghost Walk”, he says. Marc asked Gay how ghost walks worked and she explained that you buy the book and follow the route and read about the ghost stories in the various properties.
“When we had finished talking about the printing of the book, just by chance, as Gay got up to leave she said: ‘I’m looking for someone to lead the ghost walk’, and, for some reason or other I volunteered. Afterwards I thought to myself ‘why have I agreed to this, I don’t know anything about this at all?’
“I was lucky in a way because I had acted for years; I suppose I am what most people call a Thesp, and I had also done a small bit of professional work.
“I said to Gay that I didn’t mind standing up in front of people and making a fool of myself, so she gave me a script and we gave it a whirl. I invited three of my colleagues: Ian Johnson, Steven Airs and Robert Le-Brett round one Sunday morning and said ‘come on guys we are going into the ghost walk business’. At the time I was still full time at West Island Printers and this was only going to be a Wednesday night bit of fun.”
“We started the ghost walks from the Castle Inn, Newport. The landlord at the time (Eddie) was a right old rouge, but despite this he kindly agreed that we could start the ghost walks from his pub.”
Marc at the time thought that the idea would not run the course of time and that nobody would be interested, but how wrong he was. In fact the ghost walks became so popular that, after the first year, Eddie asked Marc for some rent because he insisted that he could rent out the stable bar, but Marc wasn’t happy about this.
“At the time the pub was not doing any business, and Eddie simply wanted to jump on the back of our success.”
“I thought blow this for a laugh so asked the Wheatsheaf if I could start the ghost walks from there and the landlord was more than happy to oblige. And this is where we start them to this day. It’s better really because we have the square outside the pub.”
During the following years the business continued to grow even though Marc was still in full time employment at West Island Printers. Out the blue one day, a friend of Marc’s, Paul Smith who had recently sold a large commercial property for development and, happily, was sitting on a rather large amount of money.
“Paul said to me over a curry and beer that he liked my ghost walk business and he could see an opportunity for expansion. His idea was to open an all-weather 19th Century Victorian Visitor Centre which would also incorporate the ghost experience.
“This was like a dream to me, so I instantly said ‘yes, let’s do it’. We spent the next couple of months looking around for a site and when Holliers Farm at Arreton came up for sale, it seemed ideal.
“We went and saw the planning department and they loved the idea and said that we had 85% chance of it going through, so, on the strength of this, I gave up my job at West Island Printers and for the next year worked really hard setting things up.
“I got in touch with companies in Hollywood for special effects and all sorts of things and Paul and I were both really excited about the whole project, until the time came for the planning decision.
“We sat in the Council Chambers and all the councillors were for the idea, then, suddenly, the planning officer stood up and said he recommended our application for refusal. Paul and I were stunned. After several meetings we came to the conclusion that our dream was not going to happen and that was the end of that.
“So there I was, no full time income, asking myself ‘what can I do?’. I really didn’t want to go back into the printing business so my only option was to expand the ghost walk business, and that’s exactly what I did.”
Marc is currently now in his third year and runs ghost walks every evening throughout the whole year. He has extended the service to include all night vigils, day and weekend tours and is even working on a DVD.
Is it the supernatural shining through, or just Marc’s hard work? Visit his website at www.ghost-tours.co.uk or go on a ghost walk and find out for yourself!