For 58 year old John Vaughan, 11 June 2016 was a very special day. Not only was John visiting his home town of Leicester for the first time in almost 50 years, he was taking his first ever train journey.

On Saturday, John boarded the 11:04 from Newark to Leicester with his sister-in-law, Corynne Hall, thanks to Anchor, fulfilling two longstanding dreams. 

John moved to Skegness when he was 10 years old, and just a few years later, at the age of 16, had a heart attack, followed by a stroke. As a consequence John has faced a number of health challenges throughout his life that have prevented him from taking a train journey or going back to his hometown.

John had always wondered what travelling on a train was like, and longed to revisit places full of happy childhood memories. When he talked to Susan Pratt, the manager at Anchor’s Bower Court, the retirement housing scheme were he lives in Newark, she felt certain Anchor could do something to make it happen for him.

As John arrived into Leicester he was given VIP treatment, getting a tour of the railway station and a special announcement was dedicated to him by the train conductor over the tannoy system.

John said: “I feel like royalty. This is the trip of a lifetime. I expected the train ride to be much bumpier than it was and was surprised by the smoothness of the journey.”

John went on to spend his day visiting familiar places; his old home in Braunstone, Braunstone Park and his primary school Bendbow Rise Infant School. He also picked up a copy of the Leicester Mercury newspaper at the Clock Tower in the town centre where his grandad used to work at a newspaper stall.

Susan Pratt, John’s scheme manager at Bower Court, said: “John has been waiting in anticipation for his dream to be granted.

“It is pleasing to see that such a relatively small token of goodwill can make such a difference to someone’s life.

“It is a credit to Anchor for giving their tenants the opportunity to live a happy fulfilled life.” 

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