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31 Friendly villages

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Our activities and lifestyle programme caters for a wide range of interests.

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Our award-winning Triple A exercise programme for all levels of fitness

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Jean Sandel Retirement Village - Meet Doug & Mig Best

We both lived in West London but didn’t meet until Doug finished his national service in Malaya, where he shared a camp with kiwi soldiers who said how lovely New Zealand was. We met at a party and the rest is history. Doug joined the Metropolitan police and worked as a London bobby. We were married in 1961, and had our daughter in 1962 and a son in 1965.

Doug applied to join the New Zealand Police from the UK and was accepted but this would have entailed him flying out to New Zealand leaving myself and the children to sell up the house, pack and follow by sea the months later. So instead we decided to sail out as a family and take pot luck.

We arrived in Wellington in 1974 on a Sunday. No porters were working so we had to get all our luggage off the boat ourselves and find transport to get to New Plymouth as the only train had already left. We hired a small car and set off looking like the Clampetts! It was a lovely journey, and we had the road to ourselves. We came to Patea and saw a hitching rail and thought “What have we come to?”. We opened a Restaurant called Whimpy and then later changed the name to Hatters Restaurant. I went to work at the Daily News and we bought a farmlet. We had chooks, turkeys, sheep, goats, pigs, dogs, cattle and peacocks, and loved every minute. We finally decided to come to Jean Sandel and have never regretted it. Just like a holiday camp, there is always something to do, and the staff are great.

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