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Childhood memories at Waverley House

Mark Gale

Mark Gale



Mary Kent lived at the first McCarthy & Stone Development to be built, Waverley House in New Milton. Here, her granddaughter Tania Harland shares wonderful childhood memories of spending time there, which inspired her to work for McCarthy & Stone when a job opportunity came up 10 years ago.

Mary Kent moved into a ground floor garden apartment at Waverley House in 1988. Having recently been widowed, she was the youngest resident at that time aged 68. She loved her new home and surroundings so much that she lived at Waverley House for a further 17 years before she died in July 2005.

Mary was a social butterfly and would love nothing more than chatting to her friends over coffee in the residents’ lounge. She was actively involved in arranging any social activities in the development and would often help Christine and Pat, the House Wardens (known to us now as House Managers) to set up events and activities.

She was a dedicated fundraiser for Oakhaven Hospice and would regularly raise money through table sales at the development’s coffee mornings and in the town centre. She was particularly proud to raise £1,000 for Oakhaven Hospice and got the opportunity to have her photo in the local paper in 1991 (pictured below).

Another big love of Mary’s was her garden. She absolutely loved the small piece of land outside her patio door and grew so many beautiful and colourful flowers and shrubs. Chelsea Flower Show would have been impressed! After having a large garden all her married life, it was wonderful that she had the opportunity to still dabble in a spot of gardening right on her doorstep. 

Another special memory of my Nana at Waverley House was a surprise 70th birthday party we organised for her on the 10th May 1990 (pictured below). Many family, friends and residents came to her party, held in the residents’ lounge and we organised party food, cake and a pianist (well I played “happy birthday” on the piano!) and we had a sing song. Having the residents’ lounge to hold her party was fantastic and a great time was had by all.

I recall how lonely she would get at times and if it wasn’t for the community spirit on the development and the close friendships she formed, I think she would have found it too isolating living in a detached property after my granddad died. What Waverley House provided for her was a stable, safe, social environment which meant she was able to remain in her own home, until she died aged 85.

If even a fraction of the many homeowners, who have purchased and lived in a McCarthy & Stone apartment over the last 40 years have been as happy as my Nana was living at Waverley House, then McCarthy & Stone truly have made a real difference to many retirees lives.

To see more on how we've been enriching lives for over 40 years, click here or watch the video below.

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