Charles Fleming Retirement Village marked a special milestone as it celebrated its 10th birthday.
The Ryman Healthcare village, located in Waikanae, was packed with enthusiastic residents ready to celebrate their community.
With the village centre filling up, residents were eagerly awaiting the special guest speakers, who included Jane Hickman, Charles Fleming’s Village Manager, Cheyne Chalmers, Chief Executive Officer – NZ, along with Bernadette Forsdyke, General Manager Southern Sales-NZ, resident Helen Guthrie, and Linda Churchill, Activities and Lifestyle Coordinator.
“Charles Fleming is a wonderful and warm community,” said Cheyne before going into detail on some historical facts on what made the village it is today.
The aim, from the start, was to build a haven with beautiful homes and the best care possible, and today the village is home to 476 residents and nearly 160 team members.
“Opening in 2013, the village was named after the former Nga Manu Nature Reserve trustee and renowned naturalist, the late Sir Charles Fleming. Three of his daughters managed to be present at the June 2012 sign unveiling ceremony,” said Cheyne.
“We are also lucky to have Sir Flemings daughter, Robin Fleming, living as a resident at the village.”
Cheyne Chalmers gives a welcoming speech to the attendees.
Sir Charles Fleming was a keen conservationist. As an observer of birds, he campaigned for the conservation of a Waikanae estuary wetland, north of Wellington. The estuary is important for the 27 bird species that breed there, and for migratory birds. He helped set up the Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve in 1987.
“Today we continue to honour his name,” says Cheyne.
Cheyne finished by thanking the village team for their day to day work and those who joined the celebration.
“I’d like for us to give our hardworking team a big round of applause, thank you for everything you do!”
Bernadette Forsdyke, former Charles Fleming Sales Advisor, reminisced about working out a small portacom and holding their first community collaboration with The Cancer Society.
“I have so many fond memories of this place, and I love to catch up with many of you as I possibly can,” Bernadette says.
“I know I may look a bit different, with a different hair colour and maybe a few extra kilos,” she says to laughter, “but I am delighted to be here with you.”
Helen Guthrie, Jane Hickman, Cheyne Chalmers, and Bernadette Forsdyke cut the cake!
One of the first residents to move in, Helen Guthrie, also spoke a few words on her experience of moving into what was essentially a construction site.
“We moved into Townhouse 2, and as the townhouse is quite near the front, Bernadette warned us that it will be quite busy with traffic coming in and out of the village, but at the time we didn’t quite realise how much it would be,” Helen laughs.
Helen also shared memories of forming friendships, trying out bowls for the first time, and celebrating the opening of the village centre.
“The great thing about living in a retirement village like this, is that one can choose to take part in as many activities as one wants,” Helen says.
“Over the years we have seen many things, including staff coming and going, but I believe that the present team is the best we have … sorry Bernadette!”
In the village centre residents were delighted to find a memory board full of fantastic historical photos and memorabilia of the past 10 years. Along with the memorabilia there was an exhibit of old Ryman Healthcare uniforms and old editions of Charles’s Chapters, the villages’ newsletter.
But it’s not a birthday if it doesn’t involve cake, and the chefs at the village went above board and provided not one, but two spectacular cakes, which went down a treat.
One resident, who went back for seconds, said; “the cake is just too delicious, I can’t
Happy Birthday Charles Fleming, here is to another 10 years!