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Retirees take part in skydive and hot air balloon ride as Inspired Villages makes wishes come true

Later living operator Inspired Villages, which owns Millbrook retirement village, in Exeter, has been helping to grant ‘wishes’ for residents including arranging a skydive, hot air balloon ride and a private tour of the Tate St Ives.

The wishes are being granted as part of the company’s ‘Retired? No, Inspired’ campaign helping residents achieve long-held dreams. The campaign aims to highlight that those later years can be the best of your life as you finally have the freedom from work and family commitments to do things you may have been putting off for years. 

With the help from Inspired Villages, Millbrook residents have been able to live out their dreams, including 68-year-old Jenny Skinner, who took part in a skydive to raise money for Hospiscare and Devon Air Ambulance Trust.

Both causes are dear to her heart, with Hospiscare chosen due to the care it gave her friend when diagnosed with inoperable cancer, while her local Air Ambulance was picked because the Kent branch of the service helped save Jenny’s life following a horse-riding accident 25 years ago. 

Jenny jumped 15,000ft and raised over £2,438 for the two charities as well as fulfilling a lifelong dream. Jenny was joined at the skydive by her husband and friends, while family also cheered Jenny on from across the UK.

Inspired Villages is also helping to grant other residents’ wishes, including David and Renee Bayfield who enjoyed a hot air balloon ride on 22nd September. David commented: “Retirement gives a unique opportunity to do the sort of venture that one would never otherwise have dreamt of achieving.  An uplifting experience in more ways than one, floating off into a new dimension.” Renee added: “The balloon flight was lovely, just floating gently.  It didn't feel as though we were high up, yet the sheep looked like little spots.”

Millbrook residents Viv and Pat Stern also got to fulfil a dream of theirs and enjoyed a private tour for two with tea of Tate St Ives. Viv commented: “This is something that I have dreamed of ever since I came to live in Devon nearly six years ago. We had a truly memorable day. On arrival at the Gallery we were greeted and given a most interesting and helpful tour and we started by admiring the enormous glass window, which is a wonderful work of art.

“The circular building is impressive in itself, poised on the hill overlooking the sea and inspired by the former gas works on which site the Gallery was built. So much to see in one day!  We also enjoyed a Devon cream tea on the top floor with its fine view of many bathers swimming in the sunshine among the seagulls. I want to thank all those who enabled my dream to come true and I will treasure my memories of the day.”

Inspired Villages places a big focus on enriching the lives of over 65s through creating vibrant communities focused on their holistic wellbeing through the provision of hundreds of activities and events each month, ranging from pool pilates and dance classes, to choirs and arts and crafts.

Tom Lord, COO at Inspired Villages, commented: “It’s been a delight to help residents achieve long-held dreams – particularly after a time where our freedoms have been curtailed by Covid-19 – and show just how inspiring and fun retirement can be. We want to counter stereotypes about ageing at Inspired Villages and highlight that your later years can and should be the best of your life, and these residents have embodied that spirit.”

Millbrook offers over 65s the chance to enjoy an active and sociable retirement in a welcoming, secure community, with the Devon coast and countryside on their doorstep. The village is home to a host of state-of-the-art facilities, including a relaxation pool, gym, cinema, and restaurant.

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