Expect the unexpected at Retirement Villages

Blog posted

12th December 2018 - By Oscar Russell

Marquee Week, Castle Village, Hertfordshire

Owls, Japanese choirs, panto and fashion shoots – 2018 has been a year of fun, surprises and new experiences.

You get used to being surprised at Retirement Villages. In fact, you almost prepare for it – if that’s even possible. 

Whether it’s an annual event or a group organised by residents, there’s always something new, slightly odd or extraordinary happening at one of our villages. Sometimes it’s all three.  

Here are five of the more unusual things to have happened at our villages in 2018: 

1.real head-turner

In September, residents at Roseland Parc had visitors of the feathered variety when the Screech Owl Sanctuary swooped in. Three owls stopped by including a tawny owl called Honey, a barn owl called Baden Powell (named by a scout group) and Tiggy a Portuguese owl. Residents even got up close and personal with Julie Buckley saying: “That’s the best afternoon I have had in a long time. It was wonderful that we were allowed to stroke the owls and the gentleman giving the talk was extremely knowledgeable and clearly adored the owls.” 

2. French fancy 

Residents at Castle were turning heads of their own when a handful became models for prominent fashion photographer Thurstan Redding 

Thurstan, who has shot photographs for famous publications such as British Vogue, paid a visit to take some snaps of our charismatic residents for French magazine M Le Magazine du Monde. He wanted to portray an optimistic and joyful view of older age, something that is often presented as sombre and cheerless. 

 3. Spooks 

In October, residents across our villages got stuck into Halloween celebrations, dressing up and decorating rooms to give an eerie ambience. We were particularly impressed with the pumpkin carving skills at Cedars. 

4. Turning Japanese 

We have a lot of choir singing at our villages, but every year at Elmbridge village, a local Japanese boarding school treats residents to Christmas songs with a Tokyo twist. The RYKKIO school choir performed for residents in the main hall, singing Christmas carols in English and in Japanese too. 

5. Marquee’n to take part

Marquee Week is arguably the biggest event of the year at Castle Village. It’s a monumental week’s worth of celebrations and events centred in and around a marquee. Where on earth did the name come from, we wonder? 

It really is a highlight of the year, including welcome parties, cabaret, luncheons, inspirational talks, jazz nights, village market, quizzes, and a fantastic ‘Mum’s Army’ performance involving sketches and music.


Oscar Russell

Oscar Russell

Group Estates Director

Oscar joined Retirement Villages in 2014, and has overall responsibility for ensuring the smooth operation and management of the villages and their estates. Oscar previously worked in the Leasehold Block Management sector, managing large portfolios in and around London for some of the leading house builders and developers. Oscar is a Member of the Institute of Residential Property Management (MIRPM) and an Associate of RICS.