Anne wanted to join a thriving community and be closer to her family in Sheffield.
Originally from Denton in Greater Manchester, Anne spent three years in London studying a Degree in Physics at UCL before moving back to Manchester and beginning her electrical engineering career with the Research Department at Metropolitan-Vickers.
Anne met her future husband, Alan, at a Walls Ice Cream Factory where they both worked in the summer vacation one year.
“He was at Manchester University studying law and we enjoyed each other’s company. We wrote to each other over the next few years, I’ve still got some of those letters, and when I came back to Manchester, we grew closer.”
They married in December 1958 and in 1960 they moved to a little cottage in Glossop on the edge of the moors. The couple had two children, Sarah and Daniel, and they soon moved to a bigger house in Glossop, where they brought up their family.
Though never having intended to teach, Anne helped out teaching science as a supply teacher at a couple of local schools and later became a fulltime physics teacher for a few years. After that, Anne took the job of editing an international journal of electrical engineering education at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) from 1975 to 1998.
In 1985, with both children mostly away at university, Anne and Alan moved to Eyam.
“I spent 35 very happy years there with a big garden, hens to look after and when Alan was well, we did lots of travelling. We loved visiting Greece. I could go for walks and Alan was always very happy chatting with the locals outside the taverna, in fact he learnt quite a bit of Greek. Sadly, Alan died seven years ago after a few years suffering from Alzheimer’s.”
Anne continued to live in their family home in Eyam.
“I managed on my own for quite a while, but I wanted to take charge of my life. I could have moved in with one of my children, but it would have become a matter of Grandma sitting on the settee and waiting for things to happen…and I’m not quite ready for that. I’m not sure I ever will be! I wanted to keep my independence and also to keep my relationship with my children a happy one, which it is. Now we enjoy the time that we spend together.”
The UK lockdowns during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 were a turning point for Anne.
“I was really not seeing anybody, living in this beautiful place, up quite a steep lane going nowhere. My friends are all about my age, so they were not walking up to see me. Also, most of the year, we hadn’t been allowed to meet anyway.
“Now that I’ve moved, I’m looking through my window across the balcony and there are all sorts of things happening. I’ve probably talked to about five people this morning. I’ve talked to two of the managers today, one of the other residents, various people in the corridors. Things are happening! It’s very much more interesting than being where I was.”
“In my old house there were lots of days when I didn’t see anybody. I don’t mind the odd day like that. I’ve always got things that I like doing. I enjoy sewing and I can dive into my very difficult Sudokus with no problem at all and spend a happy two hours fiddling about with numbers, but you don’t want too many days like that, and I had a lot of them.
As soon as Anne knew about the new Jacobs Gate development, she thought it would be perfect.
“My daughter lives in Sheffield and used to live very near to here. I’ve had a lot to do with my grandchildren, so I’d actually pushed prams around this area when they were small.
“This is the leafy suburbs of Sheffield, there’s the river Sheaf running through the valley. I only need to drive three miles out of Sheffield and I’m touching the Derbyshire Dales, so it’s a good place to be. I don’t feel that I’m too far away from the friends that I have in Eyam and familiar parts of the Peak District.
“My son’s in Norfolk and another reason I thought it would be good to move here is so that I can lock the door, go, and not worry about the place if I want to spend time with him.”
The move has given Anne a new lease of life and her family peace of mind.
“I think they’re really glad to have me here. They can keep an eye on me and don’t have to worry about me. They know if I have a fall that somebody will come.
“There’s a nice garden to walk around. I’m on the top floor, which gives me lovely views of a woody hill in the distance and lots of sky to look at.
“A lady came to the hairdressing salon just before Christmas and we’ve also got somebody coming to give a few of us a pedicure. Just along the corridor from me is the activities room with all the mats ready for pilates etc. when the lockdown restrictions lift. I’m looking forward to picking these things up and it will be very much easier to have them in the same building, without having to make a big effort to get out by car.”
During the lockdowns, the on-site table service restaurants had to close temporarily but the team have continued to prepare freshly cooked lunchtime meals and deliver them to homeowners’ front doors.
“The food has been delicious. The chef himself is lovely and the two young people who work with him and bring our food up are very nice. The whole thing is just so enjoyable and it’s very reasonably priced. I’m looking forward to all my friends in Eyam coming for lunch with me here or tea in the afternoon.
“I was very pleased that we could spend a short time in the Homeowners Lounge at Christmas, because we could introduce ourselves and get to know each other a bit. We exchanged telephone numbers, so we’ve been ringing each other during the lockdown. On a nice day we can sit in the garden a little distance apart and have a natter. I can see that we are going to be friends.
“I’ve absolutely done the right thing and probably should have done it a couple of years earlier. It’s hard to move house and the younger and more energetic you are, the better you’ll cope with it. Now that I’m here, I’m very happy. I think partly it’s because I’ve got people around me. It’s lovely to be somewhere where things are happening. I feel as if I’ve joined life again rather than being locked away from it!”