Monty the Dog feels 10 years younger at Allingham Lodge – and his parents Steph and Dave have ‘future-proofed’ their lifestyle

Steph Williams (62) and her husband Dave Appleby (65) are among the youngest members of the new community at Churchill’s Allingham Lodge development in Eastbourne, but it’s their 14-year-old West Highland Terrier Monty who is enjoying the biggest benefits of a new lease of life as he settles into his new lifestyle.

“They say you’ll feel ten years younger after moving here,” says Steph. “Well in our case the dog feels ten years younger! He seems like a puppy since our move, he’s settled in really well and is loving his new surroundings. He’d never been in a lift before, but it turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks - he just got it straight away. He’s a very ‘urban’ dog and he’s loved exploring his new surroundings here in the heart of Eastbourne.”

When thinking about downsizing from their 4 bedroom house in Canterbury, the couple weighed up whether to move into a bungalow or a flat. “We knew that we would eventually end up moving somewhere like this,” explains Steph. “So we thought why not do it now?”

She adds: “We had moved lots of times before so we know what a hassle it can be. We knew that Churchill’s Home Exchange service would make our lives simpler. It really worked well for us because all the pressure was taken off us and we really appreciated that because we’ve done it so many times before. We realised what a good deal it was, plus we didn’t have to pay estate agent fees.

“We gave up 50% of our clothes, contents and furniture, the things we brought with us were either new or very important to us, and the removal team were really good about it. They went over and above to dismantle and rebuild furniture, and took lots of care with everything.

“We didn’t know a single person in Eastbourne, so it was quite brave to move here, but we are the type of people who join things. My hobby is swimming so I knew I’d meet people doing that, and my husband has joined a creative group as he’s a writer. We also go to a lot of social events within the development and we’ve already made some very good friends.

“Churchill’s Sales Executive Hannah has given me recommendations on all sorts of things from restaurants to hairdressers, and she’s full of local tips that come from her knowledge of living in Eastbourne, so that’s been great too.

“I’d also like to say what a great job our Lodge Manager Stephen does. We needed a dog walker the other day and had the comfort of knowing we could leave our keys with Stephen to let them in, it’s great having him around and the informal support he offers.

“We have kids living in different parts of the country who come down to visit and stay in the Guest Suite or in our spare bedroom, and they love it. I’ve also had friends come to stay and the Guest Suite is very handy for that.

“We’re one of the youngest to move here, and some of our friends question the move, but when they come and see it they can really understand why we’ve done it. You don’t know what’s around the corner. We both had a tough time with our parents because they insisted on staying in big houses that became unsafe and hard to manage as they got older. Seeing what a miserable time both our sets of parents had was a driving force for us to make the move early and be somewhere we can enjoy. This will allow us to live independently for longer, and we have ‘future-proofed’ our lifestyle.”