Homeowner Stories: Freedom, Friendship and Fun

One of the greatest benefits of being a McCarthy Stone homeowner is becoming part of a community of remarkable individuals, who embody a ‘life, well lived’. It’s about friendship, laughter and love – and long-time friends Miriam Tapper and Mary Parkhouse who reside at Banks Place in Swindon are perfect examples of this.

Having met almost 40 years ago, best-friends and golf enthusiasts, Miriam (81) and Mary (83) are both enjoying the new lease of life they have found at Banks Place. Sitting in the communal lounge, planning their next day trip together; they said; “This has been the best move we’ve made – I only wish we’d done it sooner!”

Miriam, a retired Teacher, first moved into Banks Place with her husband, David when the development first launched in 2018. David, a retired Policeman had previously suffered a stroke and maintaining their large garden at their 3-bedroom house in Chiseldon had become a cumbersome task. Miriam and David were delighted to move into their low-maintenance 2-bedroom apartment, with a wonderful community on their doorstep.

Miriam said, “Due to David’s limited mobility it had become quite a challenge to get out of the house – I hadn’t realised how isolated we’d become. Moving into Banks Place was life changing – it made all the difference to go to the communal lounge and meet new people. There’s always something going on or someone to have chat with.”

Sadly, after 55 years of marriage and just 11 short months of moving into Banks Place, David passed away. “It was a very difficult time, but the friends we’d made since moving to Banks Place were a tremendous support. Everyone was so kind and thoughtful, it was comforting to know I was surrounded by such good friends”, said Miriam.

“I have two grown-up sons who live locally, and they were so glad I had people around me and that my apartment was safe and secure. It meant they didn’t have to worry about me and gave them a lot of peace of mind,” continued Miriam.

During this time, Miriam’s friend of 40 years, Mary, would often visit her at Banks Place, as the pair would meet regularly for a round of golf. “I’ve known Miriam for years and I could see how happy she was living here – the convenience of being close to town and the social aspects were great benefits. I’ve lived alone for many years, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that I realised how isolated I was. It gave me the push I needed to finally make the move”, said Mary.

Mary moved into her one-bedroom apartment at Banks Place in the Spring of 2022. “It’s been the best thing for me. I no longer worry about gardening or maintenance – all that is taken care of. Our House Manager, Kim is brilliant and nothing it too much trouble – she’s always there if you have a problem or need to ask something,” said Mary.

Fast forward to today and the pair enjoy all the benefits retirement living has to offer and don’t plan on slowing down any time soon. “I’ve just got back from a river cruise in the Black Forest and next month we’re both going on a coach trip to Bournemouth. It’s great because you can just lock your door and don’t have to worry- the development is very safe and secure, and there’s always someone to keep an eye on things,” Miriam said.

Commenting on what she loves most about retirement living, Mary said; “Social activities are there if you want it, but there’s never any pressure to take part. You can dip in and out as you please. We have a quiz once a month, Fish and Chip Wednesdays are always popular, as well as weekly exercise classes. There’s even a men’s night – so there’s something for everybody.”

“I would advise anyone considering retirement living to make the move whilst you can enjoy it – you won’t regret it!” commented Mary.