Helen goes from model village to retirement village

For many years Helen Pratt had busloads of tourists visit the model village she created in Shannon. Now retired, she is down the road at a different village, Enliven’s Reevedon Retirement Village – and she loves it.

Helen was born in Levin and lived in Shannon for 65 years before moving back to Levin two years ago to live at Reevedon Village.

The model village she created in Shannon featured a working railway and famous buildings from throughout New Zealand, such as the old Levin Post Office and iconic Tui Brewery.

She says her time living at Reevedon Village has been great. It is close to the centre of town, you can be a social as you like, and most importantly, pets are allowed so her dog Lulu can join her at the village.

Downsizing was a bit of a challenge, but she was still able to bring most of her memories – photos, dolls, arts and crafts, and more.

“It’s all about memories really. I don’t believe you should get rid of a lot of memories,” she says.

Helen Pratt’s model village

The model village is now housed at the Tokomaru Steam Engine Museum and a lot of her free time is devoted to sewing.

She worked in sewing factories when she was younger and has a commercial sewing machine set up in her villa’s spare bedroom. Recently she has been sewing soft toy cats to give away and bucket hats made from old blankets which she sells.

Whether it is creating a model village or sewing, Helen says you just have to give it a try.

“You don’t say you can’t. You give it a go.”

Enliven’s Reevedon Village is located at 37 Salisbury Street in Levin and has one and two bedroom villas available now. To find out more, call the village sales agents Murray and Sue on 06 349 1409 or 027 243 3657. Or visit enlivencentral.org.nz.

Up next

View all

Romika’s Nursing Journey

Champion for Māori Health

Kandahar Village resident Pam on how downsizing worked for her

Downsizing can be a challenge, but it’s one that comes with plenty of rewards says Kandahar Village resident Pam Palmer.