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Mary Lake is our newest resident at Abbeyfield House and, largely thanks to an old friend in the house, Peter Gibson, she’s settled in very quickly.

While they were raising their children in Keynsham, Pete and Mary’s families knew one another from church and school.  Each had three children so there was a lot going on, including sleep overs, parties and hours spent watching school events and sports.  Mary was a great friend to Pete’s wife and the families spent a lot of time together over many years.

Mary’s Story

It’s so nice to have someone familiar in the house. When we came to look round the house, my daughter recognised Pete straight away and put her arms around him.

I lost my husband, Ron, about four years ago and was on my own in my house until recently. I’m not as mobile as I used to be and everyday tasks were becoming rather onerous. I got fed up with cooking and washing up. I used to enjoy cooking for my family but feeding yourself becomes a bit soul-destroying.  Here at Abbeyfield House, we enjoy meals together in the gorgeous day room. The food is wonderful and the cooks are so talented. Every now and again I miss cooking but they do such lovely things here, it doesn’t worry me too much.

When I lived alone, friends used to pop over sometimes so I didn’t think I was particularly lonely.  But, I do feel a lot better here so I think I probably was quite lonely.  Then, I had a bad fall and was subsequently reliant on neighbours to help me, which isn’t fair on them.

My children are just delighted that I’m safe and happy, as they used to worry about me when I lived alone.  I have less things to feel anxious about now so do feel more relaxed and am just enjoying life.

As soon as I came to Abbeyfield House, I was happy. The house manager, Charlene, was concerned as I’d taken so long to make up my mind about moving but it’s worked out so well.  Now I just enjoy the food, company and security.

I like to join in and it’s great that Pete is here. Lots of people rely on him as he’s such a great character. He is so patient and looks after us all.

Pete’s Story

I was on my own for eight years after my wife passed away. I didn’t go back to work as I was over 65.  After a few years on my own, I was fed up with the responsibility of running a house and a friend I knew from church suggested Abbeyfield.

I came to meet Charlene who gave me a tour and talked to me about the ethos of Abbeyfield and what it’s like to live here. I like the fact we eat together. Cooking on your own isn’t great and I was looking forward to being looked after a bit, while keeping my independence.

I love being with the other people in the house, I never feel lonely.

I have a lot of social friends outside the house and close ties with the local rugby and cricket clubs – I’ve always been involved and they’re a big part of my life. I still look forward going out to the clubs on a regular basis although it’s a bit harder this week as my car has failed its MOT!

It’s great having Mary here in the house. We have lovely memories of raising our children and she is keen to be involved in events in the house. I run a weekly quiz on a Thursday and Mary always takes part.


If you’d like to know more about life at Abbeyfield House in Keynsham, or at one of our other retirement houses in Hanham, Henleaze and Redland, please get in touch. Email or call 0117 973 6997



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