Judith and Brian Lawrence recently celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary, the culmination of a life bringing up their tight-knit family of three sons.
The anniversary year also led to them making some life changing decisions, opting to leave their family home of 25 years and moving into Brio Retirement Living’s Beechwood Park. Here, this inspiring couple talk about their plans for a bright future together in the beautiful Cotswolds town of Stow-on-the-Wold.
Judith and Brian Lawrence have swiftly made a home for themselves at Beechwood Park. The pair moved into their three-bedroom bungalow just before Christmas, a big change from the four-bedroom, 200-year-old, family cottage they’d left behind.
“25 years is a long time,” Judith says. “We have a lot of memories but even more personal effects, something that was probably putting us off downsizing, but the reality was we both knew we wanted to make the move.”
The couple had their hearts set on a bungalow with a private garden, a challenging ask in this tough local market. Thankfully, Judith and Brian’s daughter in law was at hand with some information about Beechwood Park.
“Our diamond wedding anniversary party was a great time to chat to the family about our plans for our life ahead,” Brian adds. “We explained that we really wanted a bungalow, and that’s when our daughter in law mentioned the new neighbourhood she’d seen being built. She had us all intrigued as she talked about how impressed she was.
“We were interested as we had spent some time in Stow in the past, starting with a cricket tour in 1965,” shares Brian. “We came with 14 members and 5 drinking members! We all had a wonderful time and both Judith and I have visited the area plenty over the years – it’s very picturesque so was always a destination we’d bring our visitors to, to enjoy.”
With their nostalgia and their family’s encouragement, a viewing was booked: “We’d never considered moving into a retirement community,” Judith says. “We are such independent people and didn’t think it was for us, but we soon realised that life is very different here.
“From the very first visit we knew Beechwood Park was just perfect – it promotes independence and a social life, but with just that added layer of security in knowing that there’s a 24-hour team on duty here if we were ever to need them.”
As they selected their home, the couple also worked with the Beechwood team to cultivate the perfect garden – a big priority for them. Brian adds: “We configured a layout that we wanted, and we are extremely happy with the result.
“We love the outdoors – and not having a garden wasn’t an option. We knew exactly what we wanted and are now looking forward to planting and spending time outside now the weather is improving – it’s all been perfectly timed.”
Judith and Brian opted for a bungalow on the periphery of the development, something Brian says is the perfect setting “It’s quiet, private and we’re very happy.”
The move took place just before Christmas, with the pair staying onsite at Beechwood Park in a guest suite, while a removal team handled everything else. “I describe our moving in day as first class,” explains Brian.
“I could smell quality in the atmosphere – and you couldn’t fault the welcome. Our front door had a ribbon on it and as we waked in there were flowers and a welcome hamper – it’s five star!
“The team are superb; no matter what we ask the answer is always a resounding ‘yes.’
And what of all those possessions from their last home? Thankfully the “spacious”: bungalow has accommodated some of them, but Judith and Brian have still had a clear-out ahead of their move. “We had a lifetime of items – so it was time to sort out our possessions,” Judith says.
“Although our new bungalow is very spacious, so we’ve been able to bring exactly what we need and bought a few new bits too of course; the interior design of our home, the colour scheme and specifications are perfect, so we really didn’t need to do that much.”
The pair have since settled well, inviting their close-knit family over to show them around. “We recently invited everyone over to the onsite Hub and everyone was so impressed. We were keen to hear what our grandson – who is a qualified joiner and carpenter – thought, but he too was impressed with the quality of the home and the neighbourhood – giving Brio his seal of approval.”
With the family all living close by, Brian and Judith expect them to be regular guests and plan to host lots of gatherings in their home: “Two of our sons live locally so it’s nice to have the space to entertain. Each area of our home is roomy and spacious, and we’ve even converted the third bedroom into a dressing room – which is a real luxury to have,” Brian adds.
And even with a packed family schedule, the couple has also found a social life for themselves at Beechwood Park. Since moving in they have indulged in activities including a mini trip to Burford Garden Centre and taking up armchair yoga – a first for both Judith and Brian. “The team make such an effort with the activities here that we felt compelled to join in,” adds Brian. “we’re already feeling the benefits from armchair yoga which is a surprising and pleasant result.
“It’s a big change from our old life – from Judith dedicating her time to raising the boys, to my career with Avon Cosmetics and more recently my placement as Governor of Northamptonshire Healthcare. Now it’s all about us, making new friends, hosting old friends in our new home and of course quality time with the extended family.”
Judith echoes her husband’s sentiments, and concludes: “For now, we’re embracing our new life. We are so lucky, we live in the beauty of the Cotswolds close to off track adventures, great local pubs and eateries too. We are incredibly happy here at Beechwood Park and recommend anyone wanting to downsize without compromising on space to come and visit and take a look around – I guaranteed they certainly won’t regret it!”.
For further information and to arrange a viewing of the show properties, please phone 01451 885494 to book an appointment.
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