Living their best lives – Mary

Mary Ewing, 78, initially didn’t think moving to a retirement village was for her. But then she visited Durrants Village, Sussex, and fell in love with the facilities and lifestyle.

Mary Ewing, 78, who lives at Durrants Village in Sussex remarked: “If you can’t make friends here, you’ve got no hope!”

Mary is no stranger to adapting to new situations after working in a series of interesting jobs including as cabin crew for British European Airways and travelling across the USA, which she credits as a ‘huge experience’. She returned to England and in 1971 accepted a job as secretary for a private doctor. After not working for 10 years whilst raising two children, Mary decided to go back to work and accepted a job with the Chief Medical Officer for British Caledonian Airways (now known as British Airways) and was based at Gatwick for many years.

Four years ago, Mary accompanied a friend who was interested in moving to Durrants, she comments: “I wasn’t interested for myself whatsoever but as soon as I smelt the swimming pool the subconscious decision was made. I’ve loved swimming my whole life and the thought of not even having to get into the car to go was fantastic.”

She added: “My granddaughter loves to visit, mainly because of the swimming pool!”

Mary credits her disciplined boarding school upbringing for not being bored; “every morning I wake up early, make my bed, do my hair and make-up and make a plan for the day. I enjoy, swimming, walking, reading and I’m interested in politics so read the paper from cover to cover every morning”.

Mary commented: “I already had a lot of friends in the area so didn’t necessarily set out to make friends here but I’m cheerful by nature and have become firm friends with another lady and her husband, who I play scrabble with and she’s taught me how to play backgammon too.

“I’ve also become friends with another lady who moved in more recently whose husband was a British Caledonian Pilot, so we have a lot to chat about.

“In normal times, there’s lots of activities and I usually organise swimming pool Pilates once a week. There’s really something for everyone to enjoy; bridge, painting, singing and it’s easy to make friends if you join something you enjoy!

“The restaurant here has also been doing Saturday evening three course dinner deliveries, so I’ve met friends in the garden a couple of times and we’ve enjoyed dinner together at a distance.

“We’ve been really lucky with the village team here, they are wonderful, I can’t fault them, they’ve been absolutely brilliant and gone out of their way to support us all.

“The retirement villages are a really good concept because so many people in the wider community are really lonely, but if you’re lonely in a place like this you’ve got no one to blame but yourself!”

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