Jobs for life
McCarthy Stone communities are full of remarkable individuals who have enjoyed (or are enjoying in many cases) a extraordinary range of careers. Here’s a round-up of some of their amazing stories.
Children’s book writer and illustrator
Semi-retired Bowes Lyon Court in Dorchester, homeowner Graham Oakley has been writing and illustrating children's books since the early '60s. While juggling a career behind the scenes of famous television shows, building sets for series such as the remake of Treasure Island and Z Cars, Graham spent his spare time writing short stories filled with witty humour and artistic illustrations. His best-selling series ‘The Church Mice’ was first published in 1972 and has since grown to a collection of 12 books.
World travel, founding a charity AND an MBE
Following a successful 39 year career with British Airways and over 30 years running Dreamflight, which takes 192 seriously ill and disabled children to Disney World each year, it’s fair to say that Patricia Pearce MBE has always lived her life to the full, and her retirement years are no exception.
“I’ve had a wonderful career and am incredibly proud to still be a part of the Dreamflight family, and of what the children themselves have achieved - they have 37 Paralympic medals between them - but moving to Chiltern Place, Amersham has enabled me to become part of a new community and continue to enjoy spending my time on all my favourite things.’’
Acting on stage and screen
With an inner ambition to follow his dreams, homeowner Wyllie Longmore travelled 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to pursue his career and now lives in Cosgrove Hall Court, Manchester.
At the age of six when he stood up in public to read a poem about what was in his pocket, Jamaican-born Wyllie didn't know that would be the start of his story. Today he looks back over a 60-year career combining his two loves: acting and teaching.
"When I was a boy, I was a very good speaker, even winning competitions. At school, we did wonderful things in drama where I played all sorts of lovely parts, but my father couldn't bear it! He had the typical Jamaican attitude of wanting his children to be doctors and lawyers, becoming famous in the field. But I knew acting was all I wanted to do."
World War II codebreaker
Happily living in her apartment at Amelia Court in Worthing, Doreen today keeps herself busy chatting over coffee in the garden or lunching at the onsite bistro with her neighbours (when restrictions allow).
But back in 1942, her life was somewhat different. Following finishing-school in Switzerland where she studied French and German, 19-year old Doreen was called up to join the codebreakers at Bletchley Park in the Japanese Naval Section.
She says: “It’s known as the best kept secret of the war, and it really was. No one knew what was going on there, even the cleaners just assumed we were office girls.
Following the war, she went to work for her father, a silversmith, eventually taking over the business on behalf of her brother who sadly passed away during the war. She managed to successfully build the factory in Sheffield and showrooms in London into a luxury firm.
Engineering the Royal Albert Hall
In 1948, 14 year-old Ernie Pilgrim started a three-year course at Westminster Technical College which formed the basis of highly-successful 50-year career as a Chartered Engineer. He now lives at Trinity Place in Hazlemere.
“For 25 years, we worked at the spectacular Royal Albert Hall helping the wider team of suppliers to prepare for concerts and events... But for me, my favourite project is undoubtedly the Worship Company of Plaisterers’ Great Livery Hall. We were appointed as the Constructional Engineers for the design and site supervision for the new Hall in 1965, which was set to the largest Livery Hall in the City. I had the privilege of leading the structural construction team for the next 5 years or so.”