Rediscovering Happiness in Retirement

Scott Birnie's Testimonial

In 2022, Scott Birnie's life took an unexpected turn during a routine road bike ride. At the age of 72, Scott, a retired military veteran and a dedicated head of a sixth form at an Oxfordshire school for 25 years, had always led an exceptionally active life filled with outdoor activities like cycling and hiking.

However, a collision with a driver on a blind bend left him critically injured, requiring him to be airlifted to a major trauma unit in Birmingham. With multiple broken bones, Scott endured an 11-day battle on life support and a gruelling five-month hospital stay, marked by numerous surgeries which marked a challenging road to recovery.

Despite these challenges, Scott's story takes an inspiring turn. Scott reflects on his perspective before the accident, saying, "Retirement villages weren't on my radar. But about a year and a half ago, after my accident, my daughter, who lives near Ledian Gardens, suggested I visit."

scott balcony


Originally from the Cotswolds, the long journeys to visit his family, especially his cherished grandchildren, became increasingly challenging for Scott and his wife Yvonne. Living far from their loved ones, they decided to explore the idea of moving to Inspired Villages’ Ledian Gardens retirement village, in Kent. Scott fondly remembers their visit, saying: "We visited, and from the moment we walked in, we knew. We didn't need to think any further. It just felt right."

"When we made the decision to move here, it turned out to be the best decision we've ever made. We found ourselves in a place where everything is taken care of, yet we have our own comfortable apartment.”

Scott's positivity and enthusiasm for life shine through as he continues to discuss his experience at Ledian Gardens. He praises the staff and the vibrant community, “The staff here, from maintenance to management, are incredible. It's been an excellent experience. I can't emphasise how wonderful this place is for our needs and for all the residents."

"Before the accident, I led an active life, and I thought that would all change. But I use the gym every day; it's a state-of-the-art accessible gym which I've fully embraced. I also enjoy the swimming pool daily, and they even have a steam room and a sauna here, which is fantastic."

"My wife and I have also joined the aqua aerobics class and participate in bingo, something we used to do once a month in the Cotswolds."

Despite his injuries, Scott actively engages in the activities offered at Ledian Gardens, including utilising the gym facilities designed for its accessibility and ease of use. Through its state-of-the-art wellbeing activities and gym facilities, Scott has experienced remarkable transformations, both physically and emotionally.

Talking about his initial perceptions, Scott notes, "My initial perception was completely off the mark. Retirement villages like Ledian Gardens aren't what I first thought. They offer residents an active, engaged, and fulfilling retirement."

"One of our main concerns when we first considered moving here was whether we could bring our dog. When we came in November that was the very first question I asked."

Scott Dog


Scott and Yvonne have found solace in the fact that Ledian Gardens welcomes pets as part of the family.

"The residents have all taken to our dog. Whenever we go down for coffee, the first thing they ask is, 'Where's the dog?' They adore him. One of the ladies even painted a portrait of our dog for my wife's birthday. That's how interactive this place is. People genuinely get involved with things, and it's just a friendly place to be."

Managed by Inspired Villages, Ledian Gardens offers state-of-the-art facilities open to both residents and the local community. Established in 2017, Inspired Villages is dedicated to developing later living communities across the UK that prioritise the physical, social, and mental health of their residents.

Scott Kitchen

Scott Birnie's journey from a life-altering accident to a vibrant, fulfilling retirement at Ledian Gardens serves as an inspiring testament to the power of community, positive thinking, and embracing new opportunities. His story reminds us that life's unexpected twists can lead to some of our most rewarding adventures.


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