Former racehorse owner Beryl feels she is onto a winner at Albert Lodge

When it comes to picking a good racehorse, you sometimes need to trust your gut feeling, and that’s exactly what retired owner Beryl Thorne did when deciding to make the move to Churchill Retirement Living’s new Albert Lodge development in Abingdon.

“I liked the look of Albert Lodge as soon as I saw it,” she says. “I drove past one day and saw it being built, and I was one of the first to put my name down for a new apartment. I knew straight away exactly where I wanted to be, it’s an ideal spot and I love looking out from my lounge onto my little patio and bit of garden. The whole building is lovely and warm and light, it’s safe and secure and everybody here is lovely, it’s pretty much perfect!”

During a busy career Beryl owned more than 30 racehorses over the years and travelled far and wide to watch them race, but she has always had roots in Abingdon. “It started off as a hobby for my husband and I,” she explains. “As time went on it opened the door to a very exciting lifestyle for us, we went from being in syndicates to owning our own horses and running a whole stable. We had plenty of winners all over the country and even flew to Ireland and France to see our horses race. Some of my best memories are the early mornings watching them on the gallops, followed by a hot drink and a bacon roll. It was a wonderful time.”

After living in Gibraltar for a while, Beryl and her husband returned to their family home in Abingdon several years ago to be closer to their two children and four grandchildren who all live nearby. Since sadly becoming a widow nine years ago, Beryl has remained active in the community and is a regular volunteer at her local Cancer Research UK charity shop on the high street, which is an easy walk from her new front door.

“I volunteer two afternoons a week at the charity shop and do lots to help out,” she says. “I like meeting people and helping them, especially if they need a chat which can often be the case if they’ve suffered a loss.”

Despite her busy lifestyle Beryl has also found she doesn’t need her car as much, adding: “I drive less and less now, especially since moving here. Everything is nearby and all my grandchildren have passed their driving tests now, so they can give me a lift if I ever need one. It used to be me giving them lifts everywhere, but now it’s the other way around! They’re all very pleased I’m here and they love the apartment.”

“The company of other people is the best part of living here,” she adds. “We’re all very active and we have our own interests, but there’s always the option of meeting up in the Owners’ Lounge and we all get on so well. In the winter it will be lovely to get together without having to venture out in the cold if we don’t feel like it. Our Lodge Manager Tally is great to have around too, he’s so helpful and does an incredible job of looking after everything. It’s a really happy atmosphere, I feel very lucky to live here.”