RESIDENTS turned out in force to celebrate the landmark 25th anniversary of The Priory Retirement Village.
Following its transformation into a modern retirement community, the first people moved in to the former convent near Abbotskerswell in South Devon in 1987. It is now one of the country’s longest-established age exclusive villages.
The main building dates back to 1848 and still showcases many original features including a turreted roofline, intricate stone work and arched corridors. After 120 years as home to a closed order of nuns, the building underwent a painstaking programme of refurbishment and modernisation in the 1980s. 43 apartments and cottages were unveiled in 1987 and snapped up by the pioneers who began to shape village life.
The former chapel became the hub of the community, providing a place to meet, host events and stage activities. The fold down wooden seats the nuns would have perched on remain in what is now the games room while an indoor swimming pool has been added to the facilities.
Outside the views across the rolling hills of South Devon have changed little from those that generations of Mother Superiors would have enjoyed.
The Priory’s Residents Association organised a special silver jubilee party at the village, attended by residents, staff and invited guests. Five cakes, each with five candles, were cut during the celebrations.
“This was the perfect opportunity for all of us to get together and celebrate the wonderful village life all residents, past and present, have helped to create,” said Village Manager Shirley Buckley. “Back in 1987, the concept of retirement villages was still in its infancy. It is a credit to everyone involved in The Priory that it is as relevant today as it was when it first opened its doors.”
Retirement Villages Ltd acquired The Priory in the summer of 2011.
Register Office: 1st Floor, Brunswick House, Regent Park, 297-299
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