A group of close friends at ExtraCare’s Shenley Wood Village discuss their bond, volunteering, village life, and fish and chip Fridays.
Pauline Stead, 84, Marjorie Booth, 85, husband George Booth, 87, and baby of the group, Angie Whitehead, 74, share their experience at their Milton Keynes Village.
George volunteers at the village library. It was something he helped build before it even existed: “The concept of the village was new to me back when we moved in, but I think it’s brilliant. We gather in an area we call the Piazza. Here everyone is welcome. I used to be high up in the print industry and have always loved books, so it felt natural that I ran Shenley Wood’s library. I became a part of it and volunteered even as the village was being built. We collected books and once the library was here, I put books away and I sorted through donations. When residents leave, finish reading books or even pass away their books are donated to the library for others to enjoy.”
George’s Wife Marjorie is involved with music at the village, she has helped run a record playing session every Sunday afternoon in the Village’s ‘Nature’s Corner’ for 8 years.
George and Marjorie chose Shenley Wood as they wanted to downsize and moved to the village in their 70s.
Marjorie adds: “The best things about this place is the friendships and the very nice apartments, they are home to each of our unique styles”. For George friendship and socialising is also high on the list of village life benefits: “It really makes this place the hub of village life, friendship is the best.”
Pauline adds: “The great thing about this village is it allows for private living, but friends to come down to, and entertainment if we need it. We moved here as myself and my husband both looked after our elderly parents, we didn’t want the same for our children. We have loved it here, we have our own independence. Some people think they aren’t ready but there’s no use going too late. You should move while you can and build yourself in to a community.”
Both Angie and Pauline lost their partners over time but found the support around them tremendous. Angie, comments: “George and Marjorie I have known for so many years, they’ve been brilliant it really brings a tear to my eye to think about it. At Shenley Wood I volunteer to show new residents around. I used to be an estate agent, so it is a part of my skillset. I watched the village being built and made my husband come and look at it. We spent quality years as a couple here before he passed away.”
The group have been at Shenley Wood for ten years since the village opened and have many more memories to create together. Pauline laughs: “Every Friday night we meet at one of our apartments and toast to friendship, we then enjoy a G&T and fish and chip Friday night and come here to enjoy the Piazza. We absolutely love it!”
Angie, Pauline, George and Marjorie at the village.
George and friend Pat, 77, volunteer at the library.