- Date: 02/08/2023
Selfless husband creates Maltese escape in Staffs Housing home for his wife
This month, travel enthusiast and resident at our housing association, Staffs Housing, Ken, has shared how he replicated his wife's favourite destination in his garden after a health condition prevented them from travelling abroad.
Retired couple Ken and Christine Wallbanks from Meir used to holiday as often as four times a year until recently. They’ve travelled all over the world, including popular destinations like Egypt, Cuba, Mexico, Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus. They've even visited some of the seven wonders of the world too. When the pair got together, they discovered a mutual passion for travel and have been jet-setting ever since.
Christine was recently diagnosed with a muscle-wasting condition which sadly meant they could no longer travel due to increased insurance premiums. To keep his wife’s spirits high, Ken thought about how he could bring Christine’s all-time favourite destination to them.
“When Christine found out about her condition she was gutted. We were told it wasn’t treatable and that it would just get progressively worse,” he explained.
(Pictured: Ken and Christine Wallbanks in their garden)
“It affects her mobility, and she has both good and bad days. The saddest part for her was that it took away her independence and stopped her from doing some of the things she loves like travelling.
“I love gardening and spending time outdoors and that became my new escape. When I was in the garden one day, I had an idea to create a tranquil space that Christine could escape to.
“Her favourite place was Malta, and we’d often go back to experience something new or to see how things had changed. So, I got on the internet looking for things to help me turn our garden into her own Maltese escape.
“I found a shower curtain with a Maltese city on and ordered it immediately. When it came, I hung it on our garden wall as a backdrop so she could feel like she was in Malta, even if she couldn’t be physically there.”
(Pictured: Ken and Christine's garden)
When Christine first saw what Ken had done, she said she was blown away by her husbands’ selfless actions.
“When I first saw what Ken had done for me, I was so overwhelmed”, said Christine.
“It was such a lovely gesture, and it was nice knowing he’d gone to all that trouble to help me feel better.
“He’d given me a space to relax in and reminisce our travel memories. Sitting there instantly transports me back and for a moment it lets me forget all about my condition.”
Ken said he feels so incredibly lucky to have such a great outside space to create his wife’s escape.
“We love our home, garden, and community”, continued Ken.
“I’m so grateful to Staffs Housing for giving us a great home and an outside space that’s enabled me to create a haven to help my wife feel better.
“They’re also so supportive and staff can’t do enough for us. We’re surrounded by a community of incredible people too.
“Living here gives me the peace of mind knowing that when Christine’s condition gets worse, we’ll have the support we need from Staffs Housing and our neighbours too!”
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