Exeter Retiree Kept Up the Pace During LockdownWhen the country went into lockdown earlier this year due to COVID-19, many of us struggled to maintain our active lifestyles. However, lockdown was no match for one resident at McCarthy and Stone‚Äôs Pinnoc Mews Retirement Living development in Exeter, who managed to continue living life to the full. 


Eric Robertson, 79, has always enjoyed being active thanks to the 35 years he spent in the Air Force.  On his 77th birthday, Eric decided to challenge himself, so began recording his daily step count on a pace counter as he wanted to prove that he wasn’t going to let his age rule his life. Eric’s initial target of 10,000 steps a day became an easy milestone to reach, he decided to push himself further and began to average around 14,000 steps a day. By his 78th birthday, Eric had reached over 5,100,000 steps in a year. 

Eric says: “After all the years I spent in the Air Force, I have always really enjoyed maintaining an active lifestyle, and living at Pinnoc Mews has allowed me to continue doing the things I enjoy, without worrying about the upkeep of a house and large garden. Throughout my retirement, I have found that the further I walked, the bigger the incentive became to hit the daily step count target and I wanted to always challenge myself. 

“So, when we went into lockdown it was a bit of a shock to the system I have to say. Suddenly I was restricted to just one hour of exercise per day, so when my hour was up, I had to start doing laps around the development! Luckily, we have a lovely large garden here at Pinnoc Mews, so I was able to continue my exercises. Prior to lockdown I would usually go on up to four walks a day, so it certainly felt strange.

“As the restrictions eased, I was able to get back to my usual exercise routine and began to average around 14,000 steps a day. I hope that I can one day beat my record of more than 5.1 million steps in a year – it’s a tough challenge, but I know I can do it.”

Talking about life at the development throughout lockdown, Eric says: “We have everything we need here at Pinnoc Mews, so we have continued to live a relatively normal life. I tend to live independently with my wife, Frances, but I know the residents who weren’t able to leave their apartment for six months really valued all the help that our house manager, Linda Rasaiah, and the team offered during lockdown – I’m not sure what they would have done without it. 

“Linda has always been extremely helpful but even more so throughout lockdown. Whether it was setting up residents on Zoom or hosting socially distanced Thai Chi or Bridge, nothing was too much trouble for her. Linda is an example to be followed.” 

Linda and the team at Pinnoc Mews did everything they could to make sure they were also safe and well looked after. From regularly checking-in on residents, to organising socially distanced coffee mornings and ice cream treats in the garden over summer, the team have been on hand to help residents get through this worrying period.

Linda comments: “It’s definitely been a challenging few months, but we have a fantastic community spirit here at Pinnoc Mews, and we really didn’t want to lose sight of that, so I’ve tried to find little ways to keep our residents’ spirits up, as well as make sure they feel safe and supported. 

“Eric is our nominated helpful homeowner, and he is always willing to help out. If he wasn’t out walking, he was collecting prescriptions, out shopping for those who were shielding during lockdown or just generally helping around the development.”

Fast forward to today, and Eric is still helping out around Pinnoc Mews, enjoying getting out and about on his daily walks and is looking forward to the communal lounge reopening when it is safe to do so, so he can see more of the other residents, and his friends and family. 

Eric and Frances moved to the Pinnoc Mews Retirement Living development in August from Aberdeen, where they previously lived in McCarthy and Stone’s Retirement Living development for 6 years, Ferryhill Court. They wanted a fresh start away from Scotland, and after taking a tour around Pinnoc Mews, they decided to move nearly 600 miles to start their next chapter in Exeter.

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