The crests of four ships hang proudly in the hallway of Bob Dobney’s apartment. Each one brings back memories of the ships he served on, during a 25-year career with the Royal Navy.
Bob Dobney, OBE, a former naval commander, is now enjoying a well-earned retirement at Austin Heath Retirement Village in Warwick. And at his side is his wife Mary, whom he married more than 60 years ago.
'We are looking forward to the future, we always have done,’ says Mary. ‘Moving here was the right decision."
Mary and Bob met at a navy dance; they married just over a year later, and had two children.
Bob was an electronics and weapons engineer on board ships. He served on HMS Intrepid and HMS Norfolk. His naval history included The Cod Wars and the Falklands Conflict and he also spent two years in Whitehall as the technical desk officer for the Fourth Sea Lord.
After he retired from the navy the couple went to live in a four bedroom house in Essex but eventually the house became too big for them. ‘The garden was three quarters of an acre and the house needed a fair amount of attention,’ says Bob, who is now 85. ‘It was getting too much for us. We knew we had to downsize’
They decided they wanted to live near their son who lives in Warwickshire.
‘We liked the look of the Inspired Village concept and the potential it had for us to enjoy this phase of our lives,’ says Bob.’ We chose a ground floor apartment which was spacious, comfortable and low maintenance.’
The couple moved into in a two bedroom apartment at the heart of the village in autumn 2016.
‘We are really enjoying living in this area, and in this retirement village,’ says Bob. ‘The management team arrange a wide variety of visits and group activities, and we are developing into a very friendly community.
‘Leamington Spa and Warwick are under ten minutes’ drive away and a large retail park is closer still with all the major supermarkets within a stone’s throw of each other. It is an easy drive to Stratford upon Avon and the Cotswolds and many other local places of interest. We have also discovered that the local GP clinic and Warwick Hospital are very good.’
Bob and Mary have made friends in the village and have taken part in activities: everything from coffee mornings to ten pin bowling, pumpkin carving, and a cheese and wine event.
Bob enjoys playing the bagpipes; he plays at events and also has an electronic set which he can play at home using headphones. He regularly goes Scottish country dancing in nearby Leamington. Mary, now 83, enjoys walking.
They both enjoy travelling and have recently been on a cruise to Iceland and on a cruise along the Danube. Bob says he has probably seen more of the world since he retired than he did when he was in the navy.
‘You only get one life, you need to make the most of it’ he says. He believes ‘comfort, family and friendships’ are key to happiness in later life. ‘We are happy here,’ he says.
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