elmbridge villageThe common misconception is that retirees automatically reach for their pipes and slippers when they decide to stop working, but this is often far from the truth

In fact, many sixtysomethings use their retirement as an opportunity to take up new hobbies, go travelling or simply enjoy themselves socially, as these real life residents from our retirement villages demonstrate.

Gavin and Margaret Martin, Elmbridge Village: “Who says you need to retire completely?”

For Gavin and Margaret Martin (left), both 78, moving to Elmbridge Village in Cranleigh, Surrey was convenient because they already lived nearby.

However, after “retiring” Gavin wanted to stay active. So he took a part time job at his local Homebase DIY store to get the best of both worlds and, now almost 79, still works there!

Gavin said: “I am on the shop floor advising customers on their decorating needs and recommending products. It keeps me mentally and physically alert in later life and I really enjoy it. For those who are able, I think taking on a part time job is highly beneficial.”

Gavin and Margaret only recently moved to Elmbridge Village, but plan on taking advantage of its thriving social scene. They are both looking forward to joining the luncheon club, listening to the regular speakers and enjoying Sunday lunch in the village restaurant.

Dorothy Creelman, Charters Village: The event planner! elmbridge village

For 82-year-old Charters Village resident Dorothy Creelman, every day can feel like a holiday.

“I participate in an enormous range of social events and activities, which keeps me active and helps me live each day to the fullest in my retirement,” she explains.

In fact, Dorothy is extremely proactive when it comes to her social life and has become something of an event planner at Charters.

Since moving to the East Grinstead-based community in 2014 she has organised well-attended curry evenings, coffee mornings, speakers and entertainers. The most recent of these was a harpist, who charmed Charters’ residents with a wonderful performance.

Dorothy’s social life takes her outside the village too. She has a particular passion for steam trains and organised a recent trip for her and friends on board the Flying Scotsman.

Diana Willcock, Elmbridge Village: Maximising life in retirement, even if it is dangerous sometimes! elmbridge village

Some people look for excitement and even danger in later life but Elmbridge Village’s latest resident, 77 year-old Diana Willcock, takes it to a whole new level.

Diana has travelled all over the world capturing photos of wildlife since retiring after a career in the banking industry, and indeed while still working. She says she has only “nearly been eaten” a few times, which is astounding given that her globe trotting stretches across more than three decades.

“Wildlife photography became a lifelong passion,” said Diana. “I have visited places all over the world including the Antarctic three times, New Zealand, Australia, Tasmania, islands such as St Helena, Tristan Da Cunha, South Georgia and the Falklands. I also travelled all over Europe, parts of South America and of course Africa.”

Diana continued: “I now have a collection of more than 6,000 wildlife photos. Lions, leopards, elephant, rhinos, hippos, crocodiles, buffalo – all the dangerous ones plus lots more besides! I found this nomadic, adventurous way of life highly fulfilling in my retirement and indeed, every day felt like a holiday – well my kind of holiday anyway!”

elmbridge villageSandy and Ron Boulton, Lime Tree Village: Keeping busy in later life

Former business owner Ron Boulton, 84, and his wife Sandy, 66, moved to Lime Tree Village in Dunchurch near Rugby to be near family after a period in Menorca.

They were attracted to the village’s strong sense of community and seemingly inexhaustible list of social events and activities. They bought an apartment and moved in.

Ron commented: “We immediately knew we had made the right choice. Staff and residents alike welcomed us warmly and soon we were being invited to summer balls, Bavarian evenings and excursions to Kilworth House, a local outdoor theatre.

“We really enjoy living here,” he continued. “Sandy goes to the keep-fit classes and I enjoy a game of snooker. Sandy loves playing boules and Lime Tree Village holds regular competitions, which she has won a couple of times.”

Retirement Villages has 14 picturesque age-exclusive developments spread mainly across the South of England that offer an active, independent lifestyle.

 For more information visit www.retirementvillages.co.uk, call 01372 383950 or email info@retirementvillages.co.uk.