Churchill's 100th development officially opened by Dame Esther Rantzen DBE

Dame Esther Rantzen DBE led the celebrations for a major milestone for Churchill Retirement Living – recently crowned WhatHouse? ‘Housebuilder of the Year’ – as she officially opened the company’s 100th development at Chelmer Lodge in Chelmsford.

Chelmer Lodge’s new Owners, and members of the Churchill Retirement Living and Churchill Estates Management teams, were all there to mark the occasion and see Dame Esther cut the ribbon.

Churchill built its first specialist retirement living development in Southbourne, Dorset, way back in 2001. Its 100 lodges since then span the entire country, with recent developments ranging from Penzance at the southern tip of Cornwall, up as far as the Yorkshire town of Wetherby, and as far east as Maidstone, Kent.

The 100 Lodges built to date add up to a total of 3,856 apartments, and are home to 4,600 happy Owners. Over 12 million bricks have been used in their construction, while around 1.2 million square feet of landscaped gardens and 86,000 square feet of warm friendly Owners’ Lounges have been created for Owners to enjoy an active, sociable and fulfilling retirement. The company has won more than 75 awards over the years, and recently became the first ever retirement specialist to be crowned overall ‘Housebuilder of the Year’ at the WhatHouse? Awards.

The company has expanded rapidly in recent years and now employs over 500 staff in total across six UK offices. It has also established the Churchill Awards, the annual celebration of the achievements of the over 65s, and set up the Churchill Foundation to support a wide range of local and national causes.

Churchill Estates Management oversees the smooth and efficient running of all Churchill’s developments, ensuring the building, communal areas and landscaped gardens are maintained to a high standard. Apartments are equipped with all the latest safety and security features, and a Lodge Manager is there to help owners settle in, address any needs they may have, organise sociable activities and help them get the most out of their new home.

Dame Esther Rantzen DBE, Churchill Ambassador, said: "I am delighted to be an Ambassador for Churchill Retirement Living because I’ve seen how well it works, having visited many of their 100 developments to date and met the happy Owners. They talk to me about enjoying each other’s company when and if they wish to, but also preserving their independence.

"They take part in activities in the community and further afield, and enjoy developing hobbies and making new friendships. I’ve discovered from Churchill Owners I’ve met that it’s all about quality of life and having fun, and showing that life can improve as we get older. It’s wonderful to celebrate the fact that there are now 100 developments like this, bringing companionship and fulfilment to thousands of people."

Churchill’s Chairman and CEO Spencer McCarthy added: "I’m delighted to have reached this huge milestone for the business, and I’d like to personally thank all of our employees, business partners and Owners themselves for helping us to achieve it. It’s taken a lot of knowledge, dedication, commitment and teamwork to reach this point and we’re not done yet.

"We recently became the first ever retirement specialist to win the WhatHouse? ‘Housebuilder of the Year’ Award. Now by reaching this 100th lodge milestone too, I can certainly say that we are on the way to achieving our mission is to be the most successful housebuilder in the UK. We’ll keep on improving and investing to grow the business, create more jobs, and deliver the high quality apartments and service our Owners demand and deserve."

The 100th Lodge itself, a 5 minute walk from the heart of Chelmsford, comprises 55 one and two bedroom private, self-contained apartments specially designed for retired Owners, many of whom were able to meet and chat with Dame Esther at this week’s celebration.