Moving into a retirement village was the last thing Les Wilson had imagined himself doing.
He and his wife Bronwyn had built their house in Blockhouse Bay only six years ago and the couple were looking forward to many good years together there.
However, when Bronwyn became terminally ill and then passed away at the beginning of this year, Les soon began to re-think what the future might look like if he stayed there.
“I made the decision pretty quick,” he says of his upcoming move into Ryman Healthcare’s new Lynfield village.
“This place is too big for me on my own and it’s the upkeep as well – I’ve had enough of the maintenance and everything that goes with it.”
It wasn’t just the practical stuff though. Despite being close to his two children and four grandchildren and being a very sociable and active member of the Blockhouse Bay Bowling Club, the prospect of going home to an empty house every night was a deciding factor too.
“The thing about the retirement village is there’s opportunities to meet other people and to be more connected I guess.
“That’s what appeals to me.”
Funnily enough, it was his involvement with the bowling club that initially alerted him to Ryman’s new village on Commodore Drive.
“They started having their information presentations at the club and by that time with Bronwyn’s illness it was becoming obvious that I would soon be on my own, so I guess that’s what started the ball rolling and I started thinking about my options,” says the former factory manager.
“The important issue for me was the location. I wanted to be near all my family who live close to hand, and stay close to the bowling club so I can maintain all that socialising that goes on.
“I play three or four times a week which I thoroughly enjoy – socially, mentally and physically.”
A tour of Ryman’s Birkenhead village Bert Sutcliffe to get an idea of what the accommodation was like was what sealed the deal – for both him and his family!
“What appealed to me was the size, the layout, the space, the general make-up of the apartment and everything the village had to offer, including the palliative and hospital care which was important to me after what my wife went through.
“My kids were a bit apprehensive but we arranged for them to go over to Bert Sutcliffe as well and that turned them around!”
And as Auckland is typically a small world, it was no surprise when Les bumped into some old rugby friends who are set to move into the same apartment building as him in roughly a year’s time.
The reassurance of some familiar faces plus of course the costs involved all helped Les make his decision.
“With what Ryman is providing the financial side of things made sense. It ticked all the boxes.”
He couldn’t fault sales advisors Angela and Frances either, and when he called by to sign up it was just a matter of choosing which apartment he liked best.
“Most of the questions were answered without me having to ask,” he laughs.
“I didn’t have any real concerns, it just felt right.”
It took 14 years, but on Friday 24th August the West Auckland Admirals secured their first New Zealand Ice Hockey League championship, sweeping long-time foe the Queenstown Stampede 2-0 in the best-of-three series Finals.
The boys in blue came from behind in both games, down 4-2 with 10 minutes to go in Game 1 at Avondale, they managed to tie it up 4-4 and then Andy Hart fed Kevin Phillips in the third minute of overtime to send the home crowd into a frenzy, and the Admirals down to Queenstown with a 1-0 lead.
They did not let the opportunity slip, coming back again from 1-0 down in Game 2, as Nick Henderson tallied a crucial marker short-handed to level the scores, before Andy “Mr Playoffs” Hart slammed in the winner 3 minutes into the final period.
They withstood all the Stampede pressure to win the Birgel Trophy and the first ever Championship for the team from West Auckland.