Bus journey makes friends and neighbours of Bess and Violet

When Bess Dent and Violet Curtis got chatting on the bus one cold morning, little did they know they’d end up as good friends and neighbours at Churchill Retirement Living’s Summerson Lodge in Portsmouth.

Mrs Dent, who had already moved into the purpose built development on Alverstone Road, began talking to Mrs Curtis when she got on the bus in March this year. They spent the whole journey talking.

Mrs Dent said: “When Violet sat next to me we got into great conversation about this and that and we ended up talking about home and families, as you do. Violet mentioned that her daughter wanted to make sure she was safe and happy and that’s when I told her that I had moved into Summerson Lodge and was very pleased with my move. I asked if she wanted me to send her the brochure! She gave me her address and I passed it onto the sales office.”

Mrs Curtis said: “It’s funny how things turn out. You spark up a conversation with a total stranger on a bus and end up selling your house! Bess and I had a lovely chat on the bus and when we got off we said our goodbyes but ended up walking the same direction. That’s when we got onto families and houses. We stood chatting for a good while, while our fingers and toes went blue. I think I was moaning about a water bill I’d had for my old house and Bess told me all about how happy she was at Churchill, where it was all brand new and very efficient. She got the Churchill team to send me a brochure and I haven’t looked back.”

Both ladies lived very close to the development before they moved in and know the local area well, but had never met before.

Mrs Dent, who is 85, moved to Portsmouth 50 years ago from South East London. She and her husband ran a greengrocers in Eastney and brought up three boys.  She said: “I have been a widow for 37 years. When my husband died I had to keep myself going so I took a job at St James’ hospital and ended up a manager there before I retired. Recently I developed macular degeneration and have very little sight in my left eye, so my big house with a garden got too much for me. My son, who lived opposite me, took me to see Summerson Lodge and we both agreed it was perfect. I still live in the same area and I only have to walk five minutes down the road to my son and daughter-in-law’s house.”

Mrs Curtis, who is 81 and is a retired actress and entertainer. Also originally from London Mrs Curtis has lived in Portsmouth for 12 years. She said: “I lived in a two bed terrace just 15 minutes away. It was getting expensive to run and my family and I agreed I’d be better somewhere more manageable. So when Bess told me about Summerson Lodge I thought it would be the perfect solution. And it is – I’ve just finished furnishing my apartment so it really is home now. It’s like a village under one roof here – it’s all about community.”

Summerson Lodge, located on Alverstone Road in Portsmouth, is a stylish collection of one and two bedroom privately-owned retirement apartments. Each apartment has been designed exclusively for those in their retirement years and has a number of safety and security features, such as a 24 hour emergency call line and a video entry system, for complete peace of mind.

There is also a  Lodge Manager, who oversees the running of the development, and an Owners’ Lounge, which can be used as a place to enjoy a catch up with like-minded neighbours, or for holding events.

The development is set in landscaped grounds in a central location, just a short distance from public transport links, shops and all the local amenities on offer in Portsmouth.

To find out more, please visit the Show Complex, open daily from 10.00am to 5.00pm, call 02392 809390 or visit



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Mother of three grown-up daughters I am the ultimate multi-tasker and am passionate about my role as Silversurfers Website Editor and Social Media Manager. Always on the lookout for all things that will interest and entertain our community. Fuelling fun for the young at heart!

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