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Summerhill Village is a sheltered housing unit situated on the west side of Summerhill Road at the northern end, which is run by the London Borough of Haringey. It has the added bonus of having a residential warden living on the site, which really helps to make the residents feel safe. It retains the same neighbourly spirit that was known to people after the 2nd World War, when neighbours knew each other and looked out for each other.

The village was built in the 1970's on the site of Eliza Terrace and Summerhill Terrace. These were the houses from numbers 53 to 93, which at the time was a real shame and a loss to the character of this special road when they were pulled down. We also lost a number of lovely families from the road who had been residents for many years.

The former houses had very long back gardens, so not only was a new Terrace built on the same lines as the front, but also another Terrace was built at the rear, leaving a large open space in between to give a village green look. This allowed the residents to sit and chat to each other and a small private garden area at the rear of the terrace for people to be private if they so wished. Both Terraces are of a maisonette type. The upstairs flats on the front blocks have a street door, which opens into gardens on Summerhill Road, while the ground floor flats are more suited to disabled people with wheelchairs with the front doors opening on to the village green. The back Terrace however has got all street doors opening on to the village green with the ground floor flats each having a small rear garden.

The first warden on the site was Josie who retired from her post after many years service. Another warden was then placed in charge of the units but did not live on the site, and therefore was not really known to the other residents of Summerhill Road, and even then was not in the job for very long. Then early in 2002 Lynne Simmons was appointed as the resident warden, which made the residents feel safe again. It did not take long for Lynne to get involved with the other residents of Summerhill Road and before long she was offering help to us and, despite settling in to her job and getting to know her own residents needs, she still managed to get many of her residents to come out and join in our Golden Jubilee street party celebrations in June of that year. This was a wonderful occasion as we got to know the residents of Summerhill Village, whereas before they had tended to keep themselves to themselves. Consequently, since that time, the residents have been more involved with all the neighbourhood events that have been organised in Summerhill Road.

We had a day trip to Southend-on-Sea in the August, and another in October of that year. Lynne then organised a Christmas trip to see the West End lights, which was followed by a Fish and Chip supper for anyone that wanted to attend for a small cost. The trip was enjoyed by all those that came along, not forgetting the Jubilee party she held on the village green for her residents and anyone else who wanted to attend. Then at Christmas she cooked a wonderful Christmas Lunch for all of her residents together with any outside O.A.P's who wished to attend. She also arranged transport for another Christmas Dinner, which was held at the British Legion club in the High Road. What you might call a very busy year!

Then in 2003 she started a Monday lunch club where she cooks many dinners in a very small kitchen in the village Community Centre. The kitchen was also used when we had a street Bar-B-Q on the village green in June of that year. It all started very well but the good old English rain did not let us down with a real summer downpour. So we had to use the Community Centre to continue the event, which saved the day for us all. Just how Lynne managed in that small kitchen I don't know. The cupboards and storage rooms are larger than the kitchen. Still thanks to Lynne we all had an excellent day.

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          Lynne - Busy in her Kitchen                     A Lovely spread for her residents   

In December she then organised a trip to the 'London Eye', which everyone thought was very good, which was once again followed by a Fish and Chip supper plus another tour of the Christmas lights in the West End of London. This was an excellent day out and a really great time was had by all. Once again she prepared a Christmas Lunch for the residents of both her unit and others, and also welcomed other local O.A.P's.  Yet another enjoyable occasion and a great time was had by all. This was followed by arranging transport for another visit to the Royal British legion Christmas Dinner. If this was not enough, any resident of Lynne's unit who was on their own over Christmas, was invited to have Christmas Dinner with her and her family.

So with all this love and care, which extend well beyond her duties, it is no wonder that Summerhill Village is a very happy and contented place to be for many O.A.P's of all races and creeds. Even now, within one month of the start of 2004, plans are already in mind for Summer trips and events to continue this happy trend for the residents of Summerhill Village. These activities are extended to all others in the neighbourhood who wish to join in.

To add to this Lynne has also been instrumental in pressing for better security around the site, with new security gates and entry telephones. Furthermore, with new lighting next on her list, it should help eliminate dark places on the site. Also, when Summer comes, the communal gardens and village green need to be cared for to keep it looking nice for everyone to enjoy. With her enthusiasm no stone will be left unturned in achieving these aims. Lets hope one day the kitchen will also be enlarged, to enable Lynne to have more room to cater for even more events for all of her residents and the community around.

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Happy Day's - With Lynne

The local Public House may have a 'Happy Hour', but the residents of Summerhill Village have many 'Happy Days' thanks to Lynne Simmons, who has really captured the Summerhill spirit that I once knew and loved as a child growing up in this road. It's very refreshing to know that people still care and are willing to help others in the way things used to be.

'FRIENDS and NEIGHBOURS' What more could anyone want !

Ray Swain

February 2004

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