Happy hours, barbeques and parties, holidays together – these activities are usually reserved for those young in years, but in this case, they are just some of the things that are keeping this wonderful group of friends young at heart.
When you first meet Oak Tree residents Ken Sparks, Daphne Connolly, Rose Bragg, Jean Wharton and Yvonne Ely you might assume they are lifelong friends. If you did you would be wrong. Their friendships have only flourished in recent years and since becoming neighbours at Oak Tree Burpengary.
“We are like family to one another,” says Rose. “There’s no loneliness here and no time to dwell on problems. But there are plenty of good times and there’s an awful lot of laughter as we come together in all sorts of different ways to do things together, look after each other and have a wonderful life.”
Daphne agrees, “We are never alone. There’s always someone to have a cup of tea with, lend you their ear and say a kind word, and usually to do a whole lot more.”
As residents of Oak Tree Retirement Village Burpengary, Ken, Daphne, Rose, Jean and Yvonne’s friendship circle extends to include many more residents. It’s a very rewarding life they all lead – and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We all enjoy each other’s company and are lucky to be doing so many wonderful things together,” says Daphne.
“To mark the Centenary of the Armistice, our craft group made a beautiful quilt which was donated to Remembrance House,” she adds. “Can you believe, it was so gratefully received by the veterans they actually moved the picture of the Queen they had hanging on the wall to make way for it!”
“We help fundraise for our nearby school,” says Rose. “They receive a donation of strawberries from local growers and the cooks amongst us turn those into bottles of strawberry jam which the school then sells. The jam is delicious, of course! This is just one of the ways we are involved in our local school community.”
“Yvonne is the organiser amongst us, and a wonderful cook,” says Jean. “We have a happy hour once a week on a Friday from 5-6pm and those who want to stay on beyond that to share a meal can do so for a cost of just $5. The meals are always delicious – I’m not sure how Yvonne does such a high quality two-course meal so affordably.”
“It’s not just me, we all pull together,” says Yvonne. “Some of those amongst us don’t mind a bit of friendly competition,” she adds. “Our village plays bowls, pool and croquet competitively against other villages.”
“We recently attended a croquet competition – I’m certain we weren’t the best team on the day – but we were definitely the best-looking team! With us all dressed in matching red t-shirts, I think we looked good enough to be part of the national croquet team.”
“Our village is small enough to get to know all your neighbours – and we’ve just clicked,” says Ken.
“There are certainly plenty of opportunities to spend time with your friends if you want to take them up. Aside from what we’ve already mentioned, there are bus trips, morning teas, trivia events, Mahjong games, Christmas and New Year’s Eve events, Christmas Lights tours, Melbourne Cup days, Australia Day celebrations – any excuse to spend time together is a good one!”
“We’re all great friends and there’s always someone looking out for you,” says Daphne. “My neighbour calls out a friendly good morning to me over the fence every day to make sure that all is okay on my side. It’s wonderful.”
“Aside from all the activities, we can also just sit and chat for hours – as friends do – because we have so many little things in common,” says Rose.
“There are the stories from our childhoods to news of our grandchildren and great grandchildren. We are lucky to have such good ‘lifelong’ friends to share it all with. None of us could ask for more.”