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Volunteer of the year!

Chris Conn has lived at OCE for eight years. She’s been a volunteer at Waipuna Hospice for six.

Last year she was awarded Volunteer of the Year out of over 300 people who help at the hospice. If anyone thinks retirement to a lifestyle village actually means retiring and relaxing, they have not met Chris…

Chris and her husband Martin lived in Auckland until their daughter, Aleta, talked them into moving to Tauranga to be closer to her.

“We looked at about six retirement villages,” says Chris. “Then we came to OCE.

We fell in love with the beautiful grounds and the friendly people we met as we walked around. We loved the facilities, especially the pool and spa. There were so many activities we could join if we wished.” On their third visit they took one look at no 65 and said, “This is our home.” Sadly, Martin was diagnosed with cancer three months after moving in and passed away two years later. “I was overwhelmed by the baking, meals and cards I received from residents, even those I did not know,” Chris recalls.

Martin and Chris had always been active, adventurous people; even sailing the Pacific for eight years. Martin wanted Chris to keep making new friends and contributing and he would not be disappointed. She has been on the Residents’ Committee twice, joined the Leisure Marching Team when it was formed in 2018, organises House evenings, does the bar roster, and has learnt to play Bolivia and Mahjong.

And she still has time to support the Hospice in varied roles, making her a very worthy Volunteer of the Year. Chris has the final word. “It is the residents of OCE that make this village what it is, HOME!”

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