June Weston has just moved into her brand new serviced apartment at William Sanders Retirement Village in Devonport.
While the final touches were being made to the village centre she got to enjoy a taste of what was to come at Ryman’s Bert Sutcliffe village in Birkenhead.
“I made use of the lovely tepid pool there so I could keep up my swimming.
“My father was an all year round swimmer who used to swim in the English Channel every day,” says June, who was born in Brighton.
“The first time I found it quite hard but the second time it was a bit easier, pushing against the water.”
June says it was great having the cleaning done and meals catered for her and the staff on hand to help if she needed anything, something that was underlined when Auckland recently returned to Alert Level 3.
“I was lucky that I could be there until I moved over to Devonport. The staff were wonderful and very kind,” she smiles.
June was already familiar with apartment living having enjoyed city life in an apartment in central Auckland for the last few years but was looking forward to returning to Devonport which was her home on arriving from the UK in 1988.
“My son is the reason I moved here.
“I’d been staying with my daughter in Colorado for about three months and Clive rang me and said ‘your furniture is on the high seas to New Zealand Mum!’ So that was that!” she laughs.
“I loved that Devonport was close to the water so I bought a rundown bungalow in Hastings Parade and spent the first year doing it up.”
June spent a lot of time at the local hardware store where she struck up a friendship with the owner, Judy, who is already a resident at William Sanders.
“We’ve never looked back since,” she says.
When she wasn’t busy with DIY, June returned to her acting career, a talent that was encouraged as a child when her father made a stage in the garden shed.
“I was always passionate about showing off!” she laughs.
“I went to drama school and worked in the theatre, I would do the chorus, understudy, bit parts, I did panto, as the principal boy. My last panto was with Morecambe and Wise.”
Using her stage name of June Bishop, she also did tv work, even appearing on Doctor Who.
“The first thing I did on arriving in New Zealand was to get myself a theatrical agent so I have done a bit on tv and a few plays.”
These include tv series and movies such as Kiwi Christmas, Riding High, Homeward Bound and of course Shortland Street.
Most recently, she appeared in a tv ad for another retirement provider.
“You know the one that has the lady with the kitten? That was me!”
Now it is no act and she is thrilled to be enjoying the benefits of retirement living for real, whilst happily reunited with her Devonport friends.
“I’m loving being in my new apartment and it’s wonderful to be back in Devonport.”