Linda Jones Retirement Village has been announced as Ryman Healthcare’s Active Ageing Village of the Year for 2023.
The Hamilton village was a standout performer during the Everest-themed virtual Walking for Wellness challenge which saw over 1,300 residents from 46 villages sign up.
The winning village was judged on the percentage of independent residents who registered and completed the challenge, the number and rank of top ten placeholders across all categories per village, and the level of engagement demonstrated by the village team.
Presenting the trophy and medals at a special ceremony at the village was Ryman’s Chief Experience and Engagement Officer Mary-Anne Stone who said other factors were also taken into consideration.
“The support you showed for each other, as measured by photos, videos and the like posted in our digital channels was also accounted for.
“Linda Jones took out the honours based on all of those elements.
“Of all the independent residents at Linda Jones, 16.25% of you signed up for the challenge and then there were an incredible 11 medallists out of that – five gold, four silver and two bronze medal winners!
“This is an incredible number so congratulations to you all!”
Overall, 650 residents completed the challenge, walking a combined total of 61,000km and significantly enhancing their health and wellbeing along the way.
Susan and Tony show off their medals (above) and ultimate participator and supporter Cliff Frangos accepts the trophy on behalf of the village from Mary-Anne Stone (below).
Mary-Anne also marvelled at the unbelievable individual efforts that came out of the challenge, including Dick Coventry who completed the 64km walk in two days and another couple, Susan Harper and Tony Watson, who did the return leg as well, totalling 138km, in just three days.
“So big kudos to you both Susan and Tony, and to you Dick.
“At head office these simply amazing achievements had us all checking to see if you’d put the decimal point in the wrong place when you loaded your distances.
“But as my dad would have said, ‘ye of little faith!’ I just hope you didn’t get any blisters!”
Susan and Tony explained later that the idea to attempt such an ambitious goal came about one day at Happy Hour and it sparked their competitive juices.
“It was just one of those things that sounded like a great idea at the time, and we thought ‘yeah, why not? We can do that!’” said Susan.
Mary-Anne called up resident Cliff Frangos to accept the trophy on behalf of the village. Cliff was chosen for always being a big supporter of village events and for always supporting and encouraging other residents.
Mary-Anne said the challenge was not just about being first to finish by any stretch.
“Equally important is recognising everyone who simply decided to push themselves further towards a personal fitness goal off the back of the group energy!
“We know from speaking to lots of our participants that many of you noticed improved fitness. The evidence tells us that making fitness gains is always possible and always gives more than simple physical health benefits.
“Many people enjoyed joining a walking group set up specially for the challenge and the resulting social perks that ensued, with new friends or new connections formed.
“And some have said the increased focus on getting out there for a walk boosted their overall confidence and positive mental attitude.
“So well done to everyone who participated, no matter how many days it took to walk the challenge, even if you didn’t complete it. You got out there, you did it for you, you gave it a go, and that is a win in my book!”
Proud pooch parents Paul and Val Clifford with Lulu, who was awarded her own certificate for completing all the Walking for Wellness walks (above) and the dream activities team Kate Terry, Alice Carter and Denise Higgs who cheered the residents on (below).
Village Manager Neville Parkinson said the award represented a huge effort from everyone at the village, both residents and team members.
"A huge well done to all of our residents for their fantastic effort. I'm so proud of the way they have risen to the challenge and supported each other, and I am very grateful to our wonderful team who worked so hard to enable our residents to do this challenge whilst supporting them all the way."
It wasn’t just residents being awarded medals and certificates – Lulu the poodle earned a certificate too!
Her owners, Val and Paul Clifford, brought her up to the village centre for a special photo opportunity, saying: “Lulu did all the walks with us so we were thrilled when she was awarded her very own certificate!”