Passions for the Heart & Soul

Passions for the Heart & Soul
Retirement Living

Vibrant, active, and full of life – this just about sums up retirement living resident, Hugh Lennerts.

27th March 2024

Hugh shares with us the stories behind his passions and hobbies that have remained a key part in his life, starting from his schooling years and continuing throughout his retirement. 

From Dutch Descent 

At two years old, Hugh’s family emigrated from Holland to Australia, eventually moving from Collie to Perth in the early 60s. It was then that he attended a brand-new high school located in Bentley, the suburb he would later retire in. 

“To set the school up, the education department hired senior masters from all over the metro area, so we had the very best of teachers,” says Hugh, “I had a huge advantage going there.” 

Holland still holds a very special place in Hugh’s heart, as not only does he have cousins based there, but it’s also where he met the love of his life. 

“I had gone to Europe for a working holiday to visit relatives, and that’s when I ended up meeting my wife, Annette. She came over to Australia and I convinced her not to go back! She’s still got a bit of an accent.” 

Hugh went on to work as a Company Secretary and Company Director, but for close to 20 years he had his own accountancy practice that he ran with Annette. 

A Born Entertainer 

Our village is filled with skilled residents, so it comes as no surprise that Hugh also shares a special talent of his own. 

“I’ve always been a singer,” he says, “At school I was in the choir, and when I started work, I bought myself a guitar which included some lessons on how to play. 

I then taught guitar to my best friend and Bert, my brother, and together we formed a folk music trio. We eventually became interested in electric guitars and played a lot of The Shadow’s instrumentals in a band we called ‘The Forecast Sounds.’ But singing still called to us, so we changed our name to ‘The Elite’ and sang all the popular songs from that time.” 

Inspired by rock and roll music, the group underwent its third revamp and settled on the name ‘The Urge’, “we were the loudest pop band in Perth!” 

Finally, Hugh and Bert formed a duo called ‘The Lincoln Brothers’ which became a successful night club act. This landed them an appearance on the very first episode of ‘New Faces’, a televised talent show. 

Like all good things, eventually that too came to an end, presenting Hugh with a crossroad. 

“I had a dilemma,” he explains, “What was I going to do – be an entertainer, or be a full-time accountant? 

All the bands at the time were drinking, taking drugs and had many wives, whereas I pride myself on having a Christian lifestyle. I didn’t want to live the life I’d been seeing; I wanted one wife, a home life, and a guaranteed income. 

I quit the band to stay with accounting; it was the right decision!” 

In his retirement, Hugh continues fulfilling his passion for music by playing the guitar and singing with the SwanCare Allsorts Choir; a passion he also shares with his wife. 

“Annette plays the piano, and so the two of us have musical afternoons. We love it, it’s good fun.” 

Staying Active 

Aside from his musical talents, Hugh kept busy throughout his younger years with a range of sporting activities such as swimming, tennis, squash, and hockey to name a few. Although there’s one activity that he turns to year after year. 

“People don’t realise how good walking is for you. It gets your blood flow going and after a walk, you think clearer. The days I don't walk my brain is in second gear the whole day. 

I also suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and wake up feeling quite stiff. Walking significantly helps, it exercises virtually all the muscles in your body.” 

Hugh enjoys walking so much that he joined forces with the Heart Foundation Walking Group, the country’s largest free walking network. 

Hugh is the current organiser for the SwanCare/ Juniper division, where residents from both retirement villages meet for a group walk every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday morning. 

“There are about 20 walkers all up in the group, including fast, intermediate, and slow walkers. Some with walking aides, and some even with their dogs! It doesn’t matter how fast you are at walking; we all know where we’re going, and we all end up in the same place.” 

Walking isn’t just about health and wellbeing, for Hugh, it’s also about making connections, “We’re not just walking; we’re walking and talking. I’ve made some really close friends through the group.” 

Thank you for sharing your stories with us, Hugh. We’re very fortunate to have you part of our SwanCare community. 


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