Two sisters are first to move into new Ashington development

Two sisters are looking forward to spending their retirement as neighbours on a new development.

Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 1:42 pm
Michael and Mary Mitcheson with Thora and Ian Fairgrieve at their new homes in Ashington.

Mary Mitcheson and Thora Fairgrieve are the first residents in Bernicia’s new Ashington West End development – just 100 yards away from where they were born and brought up.

Together with husbands Michael and Ian, they were handed the keys to their new shared ownership bungalows by Bernicia’s home ownership manager Lois Greathead.

Mary, 73, and 76-year-old Thora have remained very close throughout their lives, born in a now demolished colliery house in Ashington just yards from their brand new homes.

“I’m very close to my sister and this is what we wanted,” said Mary, a retired factory worker and school cleaner.

“We’ve just been very lucky, my sister put us onto the properties and we applied together – she said your health isn’t improving and we’ve got to think about the future and what’s best for you.

“I’ve been struggling with the stairs in our flat and we thought a bungalow would be ideal.”

Mary’s husband Michael, 72, who used to work at Blyth Power Station, said: “Mary suffers from a rare inflammation of the blood vessels and the new bungalow will make her life a lot simpler, being on the level.

“We go on holiday together with Thora and Ian, go out on days together and so being next door to each other will be very convenient.”

Thora, a retired personal care assistant, said: “We’ve always wanted a bungalow but we could never afford one.

“When I heard about this one and we could part own it, it was perfect. My husband has Parkinson’s and a bungalow is so much better for him than going up and down the stairs.

“We’ve always been close me and my sister. When we lived in Rothbury she used to come up and visit every weekend.”

Ian, 78, general manager of Blackshaw’s car dealership in Northumberland, said: “This should be a lot easier to get around being on the flat than having to deal with the stairs. We really like the bungalows and can’t wait to move in.”

Lois said: “Our Ashington West End development has proved hugely popular and it’s the icing on the cake for us when our hard work gives Mary and Thora the chance to be so close together again and share their retirements.

“The development provides much-needed bungalows which are in short supply in the area.”