Joan Penning, Elmbridge Village

I wanted to be near my grandchildren, says resident.

Joan Penning with Jessica and AliceLongstanding Elmbridge resident Joan Penning, who recently celebrated her 85th birthday, moved to our retirement village in 2007.

She wanted to be near her daughter Janet and son-in-law Mick, who live at Hunterswood Farm in Cranleigh and had at that point just started having children themselves.

“Janet works in the pharmaceutical industry and often has to go to London, so her and Mick are very busy,” Joan said. “I was keen to help and couldn’t get enough of my new granddaughter Jessica, who was swiftly joined by another, Alice!”

A former horse riding instructor and dance teacher, Joan lived in Chesham for nearly fifty years. When she decided to move closer to Janet and Mick she visited Elmbridge and loved it!

“I thought Elmbridge was beautiful, especially the gardens,” said Joan. “There was also a close sense of community, which was important to me as my late husband Ron, who sadly passed in 2016, was very ill at the time and residing in hospital.”

She added: “What’s more, Elmbridge’s location, just down the road from my daughter’s home in Cranleigh, is extremely convenient. It meant I could reach Jessica and Alice quickly and easily.”

Joan selected a first floor apartment at Elmbridge, which can be accessed using a lift, and moved in. For more than a decade she has been a blessing to Janet and Mick, providing free childcare and nurturing her granddaughters’ burgeoning dressage and dance skills.

“Dressage is a highly skilled form of riding, where horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements,” explained Joan. “Jessica and Alice are just ten and eight, but they are already competing and doing very well indeed. Both are also accomplished dancers, I am enormously proud of them.”

However, looking after two children can of course be tiring, so Joan appreciates having her quiet apartment at Elmbridge to go back to!

“I enjoy my life at Elmbridge very much,” she said. “I have been a member of the book club since it started over a decade ago and attend monthly lunches organised by the Residents Committee in the restaurant, where everyone sits at a different table each time to mingle and meet new people. These have become very popular in the village.”

Joan actively involves herself in Elmbridge’s thriving social scene, most recently attending a summer garden party held in the gardens. She takes regular walks in Elmbridge’s tranquil gardens and enjoys a strong cup of coffee in the mornings!

“The other aspect of Elmbridge life that is a source of great comfort to me and my family is the 24 hour emergency service, which provides cover for medical emergencies,” Joan said. “My property is fitted with an alarm so if I injure myself or feel unwell at any time I can call for assistance”.