Retirement living: meet free spirit, Edwina

“My entry into the world of stage and screen ‘just happened’!” exclaims Edwina Carroll, a former actor and model who now resides at Chiltern Place in Amersham.

“I was spotted in the mid-1950s. Someone said to me that I should get over to Drury Lane as they were auditioning for The King and I. Well that particular role wasn’t meant to be, but I ended up being cast in The Teahouse of the August Moon, which ran at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London. The rest is history!”

Growing up in Oxford, Edwina had originally set her sights on a place at art school, while her mother had insisted she go to secretarial school – neither was meant to be and fate seemed to play its part in dictating the future star’s destiny. Edwina’s acting career thrived and it took her to London, which was on the cusp of a cultural revolution.

“I was landing parts in films – some ridiculous ones when I look back, such as Blue Murder at St. Trinian’s and Carry on up the Jungle! But it was great fun and I got paid for it. I was also getting booked for modelling jobs - being considered as a ‘versatile’ model meant I was lucky enough to shoot campaigns which were seen all over the world. I could be shooting an advert for one of the Arab countries in the morning and then in the afternoon being photographed for a Chinese brand.”

Edwina’s acting career went from strength to strength and she was cast in one of the greatest and most successful science fiction films ever made, 2001: A Space Odyssey, before a whole new chapter beckoned.

“I was given the chance to take on a shop in Covent Garden. Always ready for a new challenge, I decided to go for it! The shop was called Edwina Carroll and I sold jewellery, clothing and artwork, along with other items – all from British designers. We have such a lot of homegrown talent here, so I was delighted to be able to support them.”

“I would travel across the country on buying trips then come home in the middle of the night and dress the windows. Although I was working around the clock and my social life took a nose-dive, I ended up running the business for 15 years before I made the decision to retire and enjoy some much-deserved time for myself.”

With the world as her oyster, Edwina was well and truly bitten by the travel bug, taking up to four trips a year, “I’ve been all over the world, seen most of Europe and visited China and much of the Far East. A highlight has to be seeing the orangutans in Borneo – to watch them so close-up in their natural habitat was a wonderful experience.”

Looking to the future, Edwina hopes to travel more and is determined to continue the free and spirited life which she’s always enjoyed, “There are still places I want to see, I might just close my eyes, spin a globe and see where my finger lands,” she laughs.

Now feeling very much at home at Chiltern Place, Edwina enjoys socialising with her neighbours especially with a sherry in hand at the Friday night drinks party, “I honestly couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful place to live and feel so lucky to be able to call this brilliant place my home.”

Like this article? Read more about our homeowners’ inspirational retirement stories, or about homeowners who have enjoyed extraordinary careers, or find more information about the McCarthy Stone lifestyle.

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