From rubbing shoulders with stars at the BBC to retirement in Bridport

A quiet life near the Dorset coast is a whole other world for Ruth Messina, who was fully immersed into London’s theatre and television scene from the 1960s to the 1990s. Ruth and her husband both worked in television and production and had very successful careers which introduced them to some of the biggest names in the showbiz world.

I met my husband in 1962 in the BBC Television Drama Department where he directed and produced plays and operas. At the time we both worked for the BBC, I worked for the Head of Television Drama and he was a director and producer of a drama series. My husband created and produced the BBC TV Shakespeare Series and in retirement produced fundraising events for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. We were lucky enough to count amongst our friends some leading artistes, such as Sir Derek Jacobi and Dame Penelope Keith, as well as the late writer Hugh Whitemore and the late maestro Sir Charles Mackerras.

Passion for the Creative Arts certainly runs through the veins of the Messina family, with Ruth’s daughter following in her parents’ footsteps. “My daughter, Oriane, is a writer and producer and recently worked on the drama series Brief Encounters for ITV.”

Ruth’s husband died in 1994 and she came to live in Bridport in 1998 where she enjoyed being on the Board of the Arts Centre.

After two decades of living on my own in Bridport, I felt the need to be in a more secure environment. I saw the Churchill Retirement Living development just opposite where I lived, and it came at the perfect time for me, I couldn’t think of anywhere better to spend my years. I’ve also brought my Cockapoo, Charlie, with me to Alfred Lodge. A lot of other retirement developers don’t allow dogs, which is why I chose Churchill to move to. Having Charlie certainly keeps me fit and I love taking him out for long walks. Along with June and Brian’s lovely spaniel, Poppy, they are both much loved and spoiled by the other Owners.

“Everyone here is so friendly, and Anne, our Lodge Manager, is so attentive and arranges interesting events for us. We had a Pimm’s party for the Wimbledon Final last year, a fun Christmas Supper as well as talks on local and national subjects. There’s also a weekly coffee morning every Thursday, which is very popular. Everyone attends and Anne keeps us updated on Lodge and local events.

"We have a huge television in the Owners’ Lounge where, for instance, we are currently watching ‘The Crown’, and also other major films. The best thing about the Lodge is getting to know all the other Owners. We’re all from such different backgrounds, but get on so well. People moving in have been pleasantly surprised that we welcome them with open arms, and support everyone through the moving process. Moving house in your 80s can be so daunting, but everyone here has been in a similar position, so it’s nice we can support each other in that way.”

Churchill’s Alfred Lodge, on Rax Lane opposite the beautiful Millennium Green comprises 26 one and two-bedroom stylish apartments, designed entirely with the over 60’s in mind. All the apartments have spacious rooms throughout and an ideal combination of design and functionality.

The fully fitted, stylish kitchens include a built in fridge and freezer, washer/dryer, plus hob and an oven, which is located at an easy-reach height. All of the properties also benefit from illuminated light switches for added convenience. Owners enjoy ultimate peace of mind from a fitted video entry system for the highest level of security and a 24 hour emergency call system.

With less to worry about, Owners have more time to do the things they enjoy, including taking advantage of the host of other benefits on offer including having family or friends to stay in the development’s well-appointed Guest Suite, and enjoying a chat with neighbours, or attending one of the many events, in the Owners’ Lounge. They can also benefit from Churchill’s Reward Card, which gives them access to exclusive deals and discounts on a variety of national brands and local retailers.

For more information on Alfred Lodge or Churchill Retirement Living, visit the show apartments and sales office, open Tuesday to Saturday 10am till 5pm, call 01308 287877 or click here.