Life is sweet for gran on the move

Moving more than 120 miles from her beloved Suffolk to Kent to be near her only grandchild was a big sacrifice for Pat Townshend but one she hasn’t regretted for a single moment.

The retired training manager decided to relocate to help out when her granddaughter started school in August and seeing little Ellen’s face light up when she arrives at the gate has made all of the upheaval worthwhile. 

Pat (66), who lost her husband Lonz in 2019, made the brave decision to sell her Victorian house in Halesworth to be closer to her daughter Emily and her five-year-old grand-daughter.

After exploring the options, she found the ideal property just 25 minutes’ drive away from the girls’ home in Paddock Wood at Dandara’s The Sweetings development in East Malling in Kent. She purchased a charming four bedroom Goodwood home for £630,000 and is embracing life as a busy granny.

She said: “Lonz and I were supposed to have more time together – I retired in 2017 and we only had two years before he died of a brain tumour which left a huge hole in my life.

“When my daughter mentioned how worried she was about how she was going to manage when Ellen went to school, I decided that much as I loved our house and Suffolk, I love Ellen and Emily more. I volunteered to be on hand to do the school run so that Emily could work without having to worry about picking her up. My son Simon is also close by in Paddock Wood so it made perfect sense.

“I had always liked East Malling and The Sweetings location close to the National Institute of Agricultural Botany was a definite selling point as there are lovely walks through the grounds where you can see all the apple and pear trees. There are so many places to explore locally, I try to do a different route every day.”

Life has become much busier for Pat since the move as not only is she on hand for school activities but Ellen loves coming for sleepovers and has her own bedroom in Granny Pat’s new house.

Pat said: “Before it would have taken three hours to get to my daughter’s house, now it’s just a short trip in the car and it’s great having Ellen around and spending time with Emily’s partner’s two sons as well.

“My son Simon often comes round to watch box sets - we are rewatching The Wire just now - so there’s always lots on and I am enjoying every minute. I’m so glad I made the decision to move.”

Pat is also surprised at how much she is enjoying living in an energy efficient new build-home. She said: “Our old house was like a sieve, heat just leaked out of it and the energy bills were astronomical. I have to keep turning the temperature dial down in the new house as it heats up so quickly!

“The Halesworth house was getting harder and harder to maintain and it was difficult to find tradesman to help with the repairs.”

Each of the homes at The Sweetings includes a whole host of energy efficient features, including the latest energy and water efficient kitchen appliances, insulated external doors to improve soundproofing and reduce heat loss, which all help to reduce energy bills.

The popular development features a range of three, four and five bedroom homes close to East Malling village, which has a convenience store, pub and park, along with an award-winning fish and chip shop.

At the nearby town of Maidstone, residents can benefit from a wide array of independent cafes and restaurants, as well as popular high street shops. Perfect for families, the area has plenty of Ofsted rated Good schools like St James the Great Academy and The Malling School. Residents at The Sweetings benefit from its excellent transport links by rail and road, with East Malling train station just 0.4 miles away and the M20 motorway a short five minute drive.

Homes currently available at The Sweetings include the three bedroom semi-detached Frogmore from £442,500 and the three bedroom detached Upnor from £489,500. Also available are a range of four bedroom homes – the Bletchley from £510,000, The Spinney from £550,000, the Goodwood from £615,000 and The Chartwell, priced from £685,000. To find out more about The Sweetings please visit or call 01233 428995.