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Graham and Helen Bell

“It’s not a retirement village – it’s a lifestyle village.”

Graham and Helen Bell lived in Flagstaff, only a block away, before coming to Alandale three years ago.  “We used to walk past and vowed and declared we’d never come in here,” chuckles Graham.  “But we really love it.”   Graham said they’d never thought of going into a retirement village. But Alandale had an open day and they knew people living here so they “went and had a look”.   

Helen could see straight away it would suit their lifestyle, while being close to shops and on a bus route was important to them.  “That’s a huge thing.  We have a grand daughter who comes quite often and I take her on the bus. Other retirement villages we’ve seen aren’t anywhere near a bus route.”

They are an active couple. Graham is an ex-Lion while Helen is a “people person”. They like to be busy.  “We’ve joined a lot of things here. We’ve become involved quite quickly. Everyone helps each other.”  

Helen is an Advisory Rep, keeping an eye out for residents’ welfare, and passing on worries to management, while Graham is on the social committee.  They’re both a fan of the monthly dinners in the village and the way residents are sometimes seated randomly so they get to know each other.  “I reckon it’s a great idea; I think everything should be like that really,” says Graham.  “There’s seven at a table and because there are a lot of women here, there might be only one man. I do a bit of a stir and leave them to it,” he chuckles.

Helen recently went overseas for a few weeks and Graham was well looked after by other residents.  “He hardly had a meal at home,” says Helen. “The people are great - that’s the main thing about Alandale.”

“But you don’t get people just popping in,” says Graham. “This is your own home, just like anywhere else,” he says.  “And it’s secure. You can walk out and leave the doors open. It’s also nice to know that if something happens to you, your wife is left in a safe environment.”

While they enjoy the organised activities, there’s plenty of room for spontaneity.  “Everything is not organised,” says Graham.  “You can just wander outside on the patio and look at the river. Someone brings a bottle of wine down here and a few snacks. And the outlook is lovely. In the summer all the trees are out. There were about 30 tuis out here the other day.”

What would they say to other people considering moving to Alandale?
“I would say this is a wonderful place to be,” says Helen.
“It’s not a retirement village, it’s a lifestyle village”.  


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Margaret Gillanders 

“Do it now, don’t leave it too late. Come in while you’re younger. You’ll love it.”

If you ever wanted someone to organise a mystery trip, you could do far worse than Margaret and Don Gillanders.  The couple who have been married 53 years and at Alandale 13 of those, are the official trip organisers for the village.  Margaret recalls a recent jaunt which took residents to Ohaupo and then to Te Kuiti for lunch. They dropped in at a Lavender farm on the way back which ultimately took them to the road to Waikeria Prison. The bus driver got into the spirit and played along with the bemused looking passengers.  “We are going to take the back entrance to Waikeria because we have top class prisoners on board.”  The residents loved it.

Another trip took them to Waihi beach, lunch at the RSA and then Bowentown.  “They sat in a line on a bench eating their ice creams. They looked like kids.” There’s nothing Margaret likes better than making other people happy. She and Don are very active at Alandale.

Another highlight for Margaret was a gala day which she helped organise. Alandale’s patio was set up in a Mediterranean scene while a jazz band played, a magician performed and crowds enjoyed face painting, a sausage sizzle and a raffle.
“We’re planning to get the jazz band out again soon on a summer afternoon.” 

While Margaret does her organising, and also keeps a small card making business going, Don who has an electrical business, does part-time work around the village.  They have other outside interests; they’re active with their church and they have seven grand-children to keep amused.

Margaret can still remember how they sold their property in Rototuna Rd and a friend of their’s mentioned a villa on the market at Alandale.  “I said ‘I’m not living in Alandale.’”  “He said ‘just come and have a look’. That was on the Thursday and on the Friday we’d signed up. We just knew it was the right thing to do.” 

Until that point, Margaret had found retirement difficult.  Everyone used to go to work and she was left by herself.  “Don came home one day and I just burst into tears. I said “’is this retirement?’”  

Margaret’s daughter wondered how her mother would cope without her big garden which she would work in, rain or shine. But it hasn’t been an issue. At Alandale, Margaret was able to convert her front lawn into a garden.  “We had a competition against another village in Waikanae and our garden won,” she recalls.  She also grows vegetables, tomatoes and strawberries in summer at an allotment residents all have access to.  “This vegetable garden has the best view in Hamilton. You can go up there and look across the river.”

A big factor for Margaret is the safety Alandale provides. The grounds are monitored by a security company. She particularly noticed how she felt so much more secure in the village when Don had a spell in hospital. She doesn’t think she could go back to suburbia  because she wouldn’t feel safe.  “I was never keen to be on my own in suburbia at nights. Security is a really big thing.”

Margaret has relished picking up the craft of indoor bowls. She loves both the competitiveness of it and the camaraderie.  "When I don’t play I get withdrawal symptoms.”

What would she say to people thinking about Alandale?
“Do it now, don’t leave it too late. Come in while you’re younger. You’ll love it.”


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Dudley Ayo 

 “I’ve had a great life and it’s continuing to be great living here at Alandale.” 

Dudley and Margaret Ayo moved into Alandale almost 11 years ago and still rate it as one of the best decisions they’ve ever made.  

“At the time, we were also humorously assured that by moving to Alandale, we would be able to enjoy the extra 10 years which would be added to our lifetimes,” says Dudley.  “We’re working on that and it’s all coming true!”

Dudley, 88, and a retired accountant, had done some research on retirement villages and found that Alandale had one huge advantage over others; each villa was a separate freehold title which could be on-sold for capital gain.  “This is certainly not the case in licence to occupy villages where “ownership” of each villa goes back to the company and profits are passed on to the shareholders.”  “Having worked hard for ownership of our current property, it’s great that our beneficiaries will receive the capital gain when our Alandale villa is one day sold.”

Dudley who was an accountant with the Education Department and then lectured in accounting at Wintec, found he was kept busy on arrival at Alandale.   “As soon as I came in to Alandale I was on the social committee, advisory committee and got grabbed to be treasurer for one of the many clubs they have here.”

He’s been an active sportsman all his life but his deepest love was for tennis in which he’s held many leadership roles including president of St Peters Tennis Club and Tennis New Zealand Seniors. Now he’s just as active as ever.  “I enjoy the twice weekly exercise class at Alandale and also attend the TLC gym at Flagstaff. There’s also indoor and outdoor bowls, golf croquet, petanque and an indoor swimming pool.

“I enjoy a weekly afternoon outing to a restaurant and there are many events in Alandale as well. Last night, we had one of our many monthly evenings. We refer to this as our Chinese evening. You get a Chinese meal and you take a ticket and sit in a pot luck situation at a table.  That’s great because it establishes a great rapport and a great friendship with many people.  Alandale is a very friendly place.

“Margaret and I have been married 60 years. I’ve had a great life and its continuing to be wonderful living here in Alandale.  Add the unique Alandale privilege of owning each villa, to all the fun, friendship, companionship, comfort and security and you can rest in peace – during your lifetime!”

About Us

The Alandale Foundation bought the Village in 1996 and owns the land on which the village is located. The Village is run by a small team and governed by a Board of Trustees made up of resident and non-resident trustees. Being a charitable organisation means that profits from Alandale are reinvested into the community for the benefit of current and future residents.

Contact Us
P: 07 854 0468
F: 07 854 0680
Alandale Village
1199 River Road
Hamilton 3210