Resident’s daughter says having her mum close gives her peace of mind.
Beryl Lawley (83) and her late husband, Norris Lawley, lived in Solihull in the West Midlands for 42 years. However, when Norris’ health began to falter their daughter Jayne, an interior designer who lives in Lingfield near Charters Village, became concerned.
“Dad was very poorly and I felt that Mum was struggling to look after him as well as their big family home,” she said. “I desperately wanted them to be closer so I could help and came across Charters while it was in the planning stages, long before construction began.”
Jayne attended a Charters information event in East Grinstead, which was aimed at local residents and potential buyers. There was a model showing how the development would look when it was complete and she thought it seemed ideal for her parents.
“I went away and researched the concept of a retirement village, which was completely new to me. I learnt that retirement villages were close communities where residents could enjoy independent, active lives while simultaneously accessing practical care and support should they need it.”
Convinced, Jayne suggested the idea of moving to Charters to her parents.
“It was a tough decision as up till this point Mum and Dad had spent their whole lives in the Midlands,” commented Jayne. “Moving south meant a complete lifestyle change. They would have to establish themselves in an unfamiliar area and make new friends, but I strongly felt that they would be happy at Charters.
Beryl and Norris decided to move and bought a property at Charters, completing the move in 2014 soon after the village was completed. They were only just in time. Norris’ condition worsened and he had to move into Charters Court, the village’s integrated care home. Sadly he passed away in January 2015 at the age of 85.
Jayne said: “It was a really upsetting period for all of us. However, the proximity of the care home meant Dad could get the care he needed straight away and it was easy for us to visit him. Importantly, because Mum was close I was able to be there for her and her for me.
“What’s more Charters’ other residents, many of who have been through a similar experience, were quick to rally round and support Mum. This was a blessing as I couldn’t be around all the time. It gave me great peace of mind.”
Beryl gradually recovered from the trauma of losing her husband and established herself at Charters.
“Mum goes to fish and chips suppers and film nights in the village,” remarked Jayne. “She has also become famous for her knitting, which she often does in Charters’ communal areas. This means she sees a lot of people coming and going who often stop to chat with her. It is a very relaxed, friendly environment.”
Charters’ location near East Grinstead is ideal, Jayne says, as Beryl likes to go shopping and the bus links to and from the village are excellent.
Jayne regularly visits her mum at Charters, as do her two grown up children. She said: “I’m so glad Mum moved to the village as it offers an independent, active lifestyle and a strong sense of community. Recently my mum threw a party to celebrate her birthday and around 40 of the other residents attended. I went too. There were canapés and drinks, we all had a great time!”
Over the last few years Jayne has gotten to know some of Charters’ other residents, who have employed her as an interior designer for various projects!