Sweet sounds of retirement

When it was time for Del Wood and her husband Basil to downsize the family home for a more relaxing lifestyle, there was only one place in the world they wanted to be.

Basil and Del Wood enjoy their retirement lifestyle at Carinity Wishart Gardens
Basil and Del Wood enjoy their retirement lifestyle at Carinity Wishart Gardens.

In October last year, they officially became residents of the retirement community at Carinity Wishart Gardens, although they have felt at home there for a great deal longer. Del’s mother Mabel had been one of the very first residents of the adjoining aged care facility, where Del has volunteered for many years.

At the retirement village, the couple’s long-time friend Jean Miller was there to welcome her new neighbours, marking a joyous next chapter in their 50-year friendship. Del and Jean first met in a local choir before eventually becoming part of the Christian vocal trio Celebration.

Del said that Celebration began in 1985 at Salisbury Baptist Church, when Reverend Norm Weston asked if she would organise a group of ladies to be on call at a moment’s notice to sing at some of the services.

“It all started from there, with Jean joining us six years later when one of the original singers was unable to continue,” she said.

“Celebration started out not too confidently, but we were willing to be available for the Lord’s service and we realised that, with God’s help, we had a ministry.

Jean Miller and Del Wood sang together in a Christian vocal trio which performed more than 300 shows
Jean Miller and Del Wood sang together in a Christian vocal trio which performed more than 300 shows.

“We travelled to many places in South-East Queensland and presented more than 300 programmes over almost 25 years, in aged care homes, prisons, denominational events, birthday parties and wedding anniversaries.

“We sang twice at the CWCI Convention at Mount Tamborine, which resulted in us releasing a CD of gospel music. I made all our costumes, and we came together every Monday to rehearse our songs, as we wanted each presentation to be different than the time before.”

“Our lives were busy with children, elderly parents, work and volunteering, but we always stood together and sought to encourage and build one another up.”

When Del and Basil moved to Wishart Gardens, they brought their love of music with them, donating their grand piano and organ to the community pavilion to be enjoyed by all the residents. This has allowed Del and Jean to continue their musical collaboration, playing together at weekly chapel services.

As one of the original residents of Wishart Gardens, Jean was pleased to see her friends move in, and they often enjoy each other’s company at village social events.

 Del Wood lives at the Carinity Wishart Gardens retirement village with her friend of 50 years, Jean Miller.
Del Wood lives at the Carinity Wishart Gardens retirement village with Jean Miller, her friend of 50 years.

Jean was only 61 when she and her husband Reg moved in 28 years ago, which she said was one of the best decisions she’d ever made.

“I’ve never for one moment regretted making this village my home,” she said.

“My advice to any couples considering retirement living, is to make the move, if possible, when you are still relatively fit and healthy so you have time to enjoy this stage of your life together.

“The great thing about the village here at Wishart Gardens is that it is co-located with an aged care community. This was such a blessing when my husband Reg needed full-time support towards the end of his life. He simply transferred over to aged care, and I could walk over and visit him every day.

“With Reg now gone and my children living far away, this retirement community means the world to me.

“I only need to step out my front door and I’m surrounded by the support of friends and wonderful neighbours. For that, I am truly grateful.”


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