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Forging New Friendships In Retirement Hertfordshire

Mr and Mrs Harpin
News and community
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5 June 2019 

Married for over 60 years, Leslie and Ann Harpin, 87 and 81, have lived most of their lives side-by-side. Having recently made the decision to move to McCarthy Stone’s Isabella House Retirement Living development in Hertford, the couple are not only enjoying spending more time together, they also have a new group of friends who they refer to as their extended family. 

Originally from Hoddesdon in Broxbourne, Leslie and Ann married in 1957.  They have a large family of four children, thirteen grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.  The couple value their family life, and are grateful for the support their children have given them throughout the years.

Leslie and Ann made the decision to downsize last year, as Leslie explained: “My wife and I are both in our eighties and we were finding our four-bedroom detached house tiring to maintain. The stairs and garden became too much for us, and we decided we needed to move somewhere where everything was much more easily accessible, preferably on one floor.”

McCarthy Stone’s Retirement Living developments are carefully designed to enable the over 60s to maintain an active and independent lifestyle, in a safe and secure environment. 

The range of facilities is what attracted the couple to Isabella House – including a club lounge and beautifully maintained communal gardens, ideal for socialising with new-found friends, and a guest suite for when homeowners have visitors to stay.  House Manager, June, takes care of the day-to-day running of the development; and a security entrance system and 24-hour emergency call points provide added peace-of-mind.

Ann Harpin worked in the care industry for nearly 40 years and loves spending time with other people; and when Leslie left school, he worked in the General Post Office and stayed there for 42 years – so it’s no surprise the couple love being sociable and meeting new people. 

“The get-togethers at Isabella House are great. We enjoy going to the coffee mornings, and we have held an Armistice event and Christmas party. I’ve even taken up a weekly art class, which is something completely different that I’ve always fancied giving a go”, Leslie said.  

On days when the social calendar is less busy, the couple still enjoy relaxing in the club lounge. “We’ll spend some time downstairs together, other homeowners often join us and two hours later, we’re all still there having a catch up!” 

When asked about the highlight of their move to Isabella House, Leslie stated: “It’s the friendships we’ve made with everyone here. It’s brilliant – like our own extended happy family.” 

Simon Pendlebury, Regional Sales and Marketing Director for McCarthy Stone North London said: “A McCarthy Stone apartment is more than just a new home, it really is a lifestyle choice. With no maintenance worries, homeowners are free to spend more time doing the things they enjoy. 

“Every year, around 27,600 social events are held across McCarthy Stone's managed properties, and it’s really rewarding to see the many opportunities for companionship that the events bring for homeowners.”

The couple also enjoy exploring their new surroundings, with Hertford town centre just a short walk from their apartment. “It’s a comfortable walk for the both of us into the town centre”, Leslie explained, “we loved going to the Hertford Castle grounds, sitting by the River Lea in the summer and feeding the ducks.

“It’s great that we can get wherever we need. The shops are easy to reach and our new doctors is across the road.  We love that Hertford maintains its history, with its quaint shops. The town has a lovely warm history with its alleyways, links and small roads.” 

Moving around five miles from the former family home was an emotional experience for the Harpins, but there has been a happy ending for the couple. “We have a lovely apartment but moving from four-bedrooms to two means we had to get rid of most of our furniture.  However, it’s gone incredibly smoothly, and any initial nerves and anxiety we had soon evaporated.

“It’s a totally different life to what we’re used to. We used to live in rural suburbia and now we are a full community here. It was nice to know everyone was going through the same moving experience, which brought us all even closer together.”

Prices for a one-bedroom apartment at Isabella House begin from £350,000, and from £449,950 for a two-bedroom apartment. 

Those interested in Retirement Living in Hertford are invited to call 0800 201 4811.

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