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Frank and Sandra Hitchings

Support with housing

For Frank and Sandra Hitchings, the decision to move closer to their family was made simple thanks to the independent living solution offered by Sanctuary Housing.  

Frank and Sandra, who had previously lived in Wales for two decades, moved to Cecily Court, a housing scheme for the over 55s in Minchinhampton, following their return to Gloucestershire three years ago.

Frank and Sandra Hitchings

The lifetime companions, who are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year, had been looking for somewhere close to their children and grandchildren, who had remained in the area.   

Before retirement, Sandra worked as a librarian for Gloucestershire County Council and Frank was a specialist librarian at Berkeley Nuclear Laboratories. Upon retirement, he was elected as district councillor for Thrupp.

Frank, 76, and Sandra, 73, found that their record of public service and local connections to the area made a smooth transition.

For the couple, home is now a private, easy to manage self-contained flat, where they can enjoy independent living with the reassurance of support being available, should they need it.

Both take an active interest in life at the scheme, attending monthly meetings with the scheme manager as well as various social events in the communal rooms.

With lots going on, including parties, quizzes and afternoon teas, the couple often welcomes their family and look forward to visits from guests, who have included the local scout group and school choir. 

Close to Minchinhampton Common, Frank and Sandra travel to town on the bus twice a week and return by taxi.

Frank recalls love at first sight when he first saw Sandra in a London library. But it wasn’t until Sandra attended one of his amateur dramatic performances in 1967 that they got chatting – and the rest is history.

Speaking of life at Cecily Court, Frank said: “It’s very pleasant here, we have a very nice outlook and we are close to the local surgery.

“We highly commend the on-site scheme manager, Louise. She really livens things up and is very efficient.

Cecily Court celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, and held an event to mark the occasion. The garden is also home to a family of hedgehogs.

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