Friends reunited at Churchill Retirement Living’s Simmonds Lodge

Old school friends Barry Preston and John Stigant have been reunited after 60 years at Churchill Retirement Living’s Simmonds Lodge in Drayton.

Barry and John, who are both 71, bumped into each other at the Lodge’s Open Day after deciding it was time to move somewhere that was lower maintenance.

Retired builder Barry, who has purchased a one-bedroom apartment at Simmonds Lodge, said: “It was my daughter’s idea to look at what the Lodge had to offer as she only lives five minutes away. I came along for an Open Day and there was John! We both went to Portsmouth Technical High School together 60 years ago and hadn’t really seen each other since. It was a pleasant surprise to meet again like that.

“I moved to the Lodge in February. I built my three-bedroom home myself and lived there for 47 years, but it had just gotten too big for me to take care of anymore. John and his wife Valerie also bought an apartment shortly after so it was nice to know I’d already have a friend here. We regularly meet up for coffee in the Owners’ Lounge now.”

John and Valerie moved to the development in February. He said: “I couldn’t believe it when we saw Barry at the Open Day. I’d been suffering from a few health problems and was struggling to get up and down the stairs so we decided that the time had come to look at downsizing. We lived nearby and knew that the Lodge was close to all the amenities we would need so we’d come to have a look around. 

“We feel very safe and secure here, and knowing that Tracy the Lodge Manager is always on hand to help if we need it is wonderful. Everybody at the Lodge is so friendly and we have settled in really well. It’s been brilliant meeting up with Barry again too!”

Barry added: “Moving to Simmonds Lodge has definitely been the right decision for me. I used Churchill’s Home Exchange Service, which couldn’t have been easier and took all of the worry out of selling my own home. I really enjoy the social aspect of having the Owners’ Lounge at the Lodge too and have made a number of new friends, as well as catching up with old ones. I also enjoy using the on-site fitness suite as often as I can to keep myself active.”

Simmonds Lodge is a collection of 52 one and two bedroom privately owned apartments offering quality retirement accommodation and safe, independent living. Located on Havant Road in the suburb of Drayton, a small residential area in the city of Portsmouth, it has all amenities right on your doorstep including various shops, a supermarket, dentist, doctor’s surgery and a golf club.

The development has been specially designed with the over 60s in mind, with features such as a video-entry system, lift to all floors, a 24 hour care and support system and a Lodge Manager for complete peace of mind. Communal facilities include an Owners’ Lounge which owners use for socialising and events, communal landscaped gardens, Guest Suite, Wellbeing Suite providing facilities for health and beauty treatments, and a Fitness Suite. It also has its own on-site coffee bar where owners can enjoy a drink and mingle with their neighbours.

Properties at Simmonds Lodge are available from £237,950, with 75% of the apartments already reserved. The show complex is open daily from 10am to 5pm. For more information, please call 02392 808939 or click here