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"I believe in chance and learned to believe in myself" – Wendy Whipp's story.

My official role at Durrants village is Head of Housekeeping, but in reality, it's far more than that! I run a team of ten girls and two men. They are an amazing team. To them and others here I am an agony aunt, problem solver, psychologist, psychiatrist, mediator, entertainer, comedian, cleaner, ironer, carer and much more. I just love it every day as it is different and fun!

I believe in chance. That’s how it all started for me working at a retirement village, that, to be honest, I never knew existed. I vaguely knew the receptionist Debbie who was the daughter of my elderly neighbour, who mentioned a cleaning job going at Durrants. I didn’t hesitate. I went for the job and was accepted. That was eight years ago. I really felt that ’d fallen on my feet and I was over the moon. I hadn’t felt like that for a very long time.

I was over sixty years old myself at the time and I found it so easy to be myself and I could relate to the needs of the residents, probably because I am on the same wavelength. They needed a new replacement Head of housekeeping, and I was encouraged to apply for the position by the village manager and the rest of the team. I didn't for one minute believe I would be the most suitable candidate but I was offered the job.

 A lifetime's experiences

I’m not sure if I had challenges, more like tough life experiences. I was born to the best parents, the only girl surrounded by five brothers. I was always expected to do household chores to help my mum, that’s what was expected of me. At school I hated domestic science and needlework, loved English though. My brothers went to grammar school, perhaps I should have followed in their footsteps.

If I could talk to my younger self. I would have said "Stay on at school think of yourself, learn more, find ambitions, they are in there somewhere. What about becoming an interior designer, or window dresser in London, or work with animals, perhaps a vet? Get on a plane, see a bit of the world before you commit yourself to marriage, life is short, try it all".

I got through some rough times, there have been more than a few, too many in my 67 years. Life educates you to be the best you can be with what you’ve been given. I’m happy with that, it makes you human. I would have still married Dave, still had three wonderful children. I wouldn’t have changed that. I wanted to stay me.

Onwards and upwards!

I felt so proud being asked to be an ambassador with the village sales team. Even though it’s only a small part, I love every minute of the walking and talking. I show potential interested new residents around this gorgeous village of ours giving an insight into village life, showing cottages and apartments, the daily activities inside and out, the beautiful grounds and the whole team that are on board to make their stay here as comfortable and restful retirement as can be. Hopefully, I have done my part of potentially promoting and selling a house, with honesty and fun.

My job is another adventure ticked off my bucket list!

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