A picture postcard cottage and an award-winning market town

Prue Wescombe met her husband Tony whilst working in a bank in London. The pair lived a very fulfilling life together, raising two children; one boy and one girl in several places around the country, finally settling in a large family home in the Watford area.

Castle VillagePrue had always dreamed of owning a cottage in the country but Watford provided a good bolthole for the entire family, with ample career opportunities for Prue and Tony and good local schools for the children. The children eventually flew the nest and Prue retired from her job as a school bursar at the time. Having always loved art, Prue decided to fine tune her artistic talents and go to art school for five thoroughly enjoyable years. It was only when Prue unfortunately found herself widowed in her 60s that she started to think of moving from Watford to the countryside.

“I loved our family home in Watford but when I became widowed, the maintenance that comes with such a property was hanging over my shoulders and as time went on, it became more of a worry for me. I had always dreamt of owning a cottage in the countryside, it was on my bucket list so to speak and it was finally going to become a reality for me.”

Prue had actually visited Castle Village when Tony was alive but they both felt the time wasn’t quite right for them to move. And even when Prue became a widow and talked to her family about moving to the village, they questioned whether she might be too young. But Prue knew what she wanted and was so pleased to discover a cottage was available at Castle Village.

“I was in my 60s at the time and my family seemed surprised that I was set on moving to a retirement village but now they completely understand why it was the right decision for me to make at a young and healthy age. I have had so many happy and fulfilling years here and I’m sure I have many more ahead of me!”

“Being newly widowed, I was quite reserved when I first moved to the village but everyone was so welcoming, I quickly discovered my favourite societies and made some fantastic friends. I started to volunteer behind the bar – I used to chuckle to myself as my husband really would have been astonished to have seen me behind the bar serving my fellow residents! I came out of my shell eventually and I haven’t looked back since.”

Fast-forward to the present day and Prue is as active as ever and is an integral part of village life – looking after the library as well as running an art group at the village. Prue also enjoys venturing into local Berkhamsted, recently named as one of the best towns in the UK and it’s not hard to see why with its many independent shops and cafes on offer.

What’s more, the cleaning, laundry and gardening services which are included in the monthly service charge means Prue has more time to enjoy her hobbies both inside and outside of the village.

“The services included in the service charge are helpful from a practical sense but really, they just add to the real worry-free lifestyle here at the village. You really can’t put a value on that feeling – it honestly feels like every day is a holiday!”

Prue is looking forward to Marquee Week, an annual event held at the village, which see residents enjoy daily social events for an entire week in July. This year, there’s going to be a welcome party, lots of music, dancing and games, a tombola, market stalls, a fish and chip supper, guest speakers and even a Dad’s Army themed play!