(Image L-R): John Castrilli, Gwen Burgoyne, Alan Castle, Marie-Louise MacDonald, Anne Cunningham, Bert Norwell, Peter Kirwan.
“Villages play a fantastic role in our lives – the village becomes your home where you feel comfortable, supported and form lasting friendships.”
These words, spoken by former Bunbury Lord Mayor John Castrilli at Masonic Care WA’s (MCWA) recent Leschenault Village 30-year anniversary morning tea, capture the homely, inviting and community spirit of the beloved retirement village.
The celebration, attended by residents, guests, MCWA CEO Marie-Louise MacDonald and Freemasons WA Grand Master Elect Peter Kirwan, shared some of the most heartwarming stories behind the village’s rich history.
Nestled amongst the picturesque surrounds of the Leschenault Inlet, where sparkling waters and beautiful sea breezes are the daily norm, the village hosts 38 two-bedroom villas. From its generously sized community clubhouse with library and fireplace, to its sheltered outdoor barbecue area, everything about Leschenault Village echoes a thriving lifestyle.
Social engagements, including those with nearby villages, provide residents with an opportunity to join in regular activities such as games, crafts and morning and afternoon teas – and it’s no wonder the village has been such a popular choice for active retirees for
three decades and counting.
Arriving at the village in February 1996, Bert Norwell has formed a strong part of its story. Sharing the cutting of a celebratory cake at the event with Anne Cunningham, who arrived in October 1996, both were attracted to the village by its smaller size and wonderful sense of community.
“We were attracted to the village as my husband at the time was very ill and the maintenance was getting too much for us,” Ms Cunningham said. “My daughter felt it was time to move while we could still enjoy it. We loved the village; the fact that it was flat and
close to public transport was a bonus for us.
“We wanted the lock-up-and-leave lifestyle so we could spend more time travelling and we just loved how close the village was to everything.”
Mr Norwell and Ms Cunningham today both love to be involved in the village community.
“Although as our lives change our priorities change. We have both lost our partners now and both of us love to travel,” Mr Norwell said.
Prior to moving into the village in October 1995, Alan Castle used to play bowls with friends in the village – and it came highly recommended.
“I moved to the village to downsize my life and have less to worry about,” he said. “I have loved being part of the committees and taking an active part in social events.”
Today, Mr Castle is a familiar and welcoming face at the village.
“I have no regrets and feel it is the best thing I have ever done. I have company and I love the support the village provides,” he said.
Arriving in September 2007, Gwen Burgoyne knew the village well as she had visited her mother in the aged care facility opposite for many years.
“My partner was a lot older than me and we had always said when he was ready this is what we would do,” she said.
“We did a lot of research and looked at many villages but did not want to pay for facilities we did not need and just loved the location of this village. We often used to sit across from the estuary with coffee or fish and chips and watch the dolphins in the bay.”
Following the loss of her partner, Ms Burgoyne received a great deal of support from the surrounding community at the village, which she said made a huge difference.