Having previously contracted for Ryman’s other Hamilton village, Hilda Ross, Ann-Maree Vincent jumped at the chance when she saw an ad for the activities coordinator position at Linda Jones.
“It appealed to me because I used to be the Triple A instructor at Hilda Ross so I knew a bit about the role from working there,” says Ann-Maree, who is mum to 14-year-old twin girls and two older dogs.
“I’ve been teaching exercise to seniors in the community at retirement villages and community halls and clubs for the Asthma Society and Dementia Waikato ever since my girls were born.
“I love doing it because I’m working with people who are always so passionate about life and are keen to keep living a great life. They’re focused on doing things to improve their wellbeing to help live a positive life, and that’s really nice to be around.”
She adds: “I love the older style music and the singalongs too!”
Ann-Maree says she has enjoyed getting to know everyone at Linda Jones as the village gradually fills up with its first few residents.
As well as running the regular exercise classes, she has established a walking group, she organises a weekly Happy Hour and there is a small but very competitive Rummikub club!
“We’ve been learning how to play the game together and we are all quite competitive!” she laughs. “I’m looking forward to getting some new players and making them challenge us a little bit more.”
As the village numbers are still quite small, there has been plenty of opportunity to get to hear people’s life stories.
“That’s what I enjoy the most is the stories that they tell. Their life histories are so interesting and the challenges that they’ve had to face.
“We’re all survivors of something. Everyone has their own challenges and they find their way to get through it.”
Originally from Sydney Australia, Ann-Maree has lived in Hamilton for 18 years and is now based in Forest Lake, on the western side of the Waikato River.
After leaving school she worked in banking and then, looking for a bit of adventure, she ended up in Alice Springs working as a cashier at the casino, an experience which has given Ann-Maree plenty of her own interesting stories to tell!
“It was just after Priscilla Queen of the Desert came out which was made in Alice Springs so it was a big party town with lots of different people. So yes, there are lots of stories, it was a great time!”
These days, she’s more likely to be found ferrying the girls to football matches or tending to her two pooches and when she’s not doing that she can be found at the gym.
“I really love the RPM class at Les Mills, that’s my biggest thing. I used to do the lunchtime training session two or three times a week.
“I go to the gym as much as I can so I can definitely say I practice what I preach!”