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Doctor Jones has Mediterranean orders for retirees

By Jane Slade
Posted: Daily Express: 2010/10/04

CELEBRITY GP Hilary Jones tells JANE SLADE about a new Mediterranean development that he believes will appeal to early retirees who are looking for a shot of vitamin D

CELEBRITY GP Hilary Jones declares that retiring to the sun will help us lead healthier, longer and more active lives. This is why he is backing a homes scheme being launched this month in Cyprus. "Sunlight is of paramount importance to us as well as fresh air and we don't get enough of this in Britain. Living in the sun extends your life, " he says.

"Anybody with seasonal affective disorder (the winter blues), brittle bone disease, depression and diabetes are all known to be better off in a kinder climate.

"Since natural sunlight on the skin produces vitamin D, it is also probable that such conditions as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammations in the thyroid gland and digestive system are less likely too."

Dr Jones visits Cyprus regularly as his personal-trainer partner Dee Thresher, 39, is a Cypriot.

"For us the weather is paramount and in Cyprus it is lovely for most of the year, " says the TV medic, who recently bought a home in Kent to be close to Dee and is renting another in Hampshire to be near his children.

"Dee was lucky enough to be given a little plot of agricultural land in Cyprus and built a humble dwelling so we can go out with her children (we have seven between us) as often as we can, " he says.

"It is very rural and near to the wonderful beaches of Ayia Napa and has been in the family for years. We go for the weather, good food, freedom and privacy. We dine on watermelons and vegetables dug straight from the fields by her cousins. It is a lovely way of getting to know the locality."

Dr Jones, 56, who is now part of the team on the new ITV Daybreak programme, is an ambassador for Med Life Club Village, a gated retirement development that is being built in the village of Droushia, 20 minutes from Paphos airport in western Cyprus.

The 15-acre scheme will comprise 400 furnished, air-conditioned apartments and villas.

About 200 are being built in the first phase which is due for completion in December 2012.

Properties are open plan and include all furnishings as well as a reserved parking space and satellite television.

Facilities include landscaped gardens, a beauty salon, restaurant, bar, internet café, library, pharmacy, supermarket and transport to surrounding towns.

The starting price for a 44 square metre studio apartment is £230,000, which excludes the 6 per cent transfer tax due on completion and the £1,300 legal fees. Prices then rise to £580,000 for a two-bedroom villa and each property incurs a quarterly service charge of about £700.

"This is a five-star development, " explains David Taylor from Fine & Country, the agents marketing the properties. "Everything you need is on your doorstep."

However, the nearest golf course and the beach are a drive away. The Village centres around a clubhouse, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a bowling green, a mini golf course, tennis courts and wellness centre. It w ill also include a medical centre and an emergency call system.

"I used to think that the NHS was the best in the world but Europe has overtaken us. France, Spain and Cyprus have good if not better facilities, " adds Dr Jones. "People ask me about retirement all the time. They ask me w hat to do after they leave their jobs to fill the void and ensure their health doesn't suffer.

"If people keep busy and have a project like a place in the sun where they can pursue healthy activities and eat well knowing there is a fully-equipped medical centre on site, they should have all they need."

DR JONES recommended that the retirement village included a medical centre and also a well-equipped gym, indoor and outdoor pools and exercise facilities. "The idea is that people can retire early and remain active: 50s is the new 40s, " he says.

"Many of my patients are healthier than their adolescent children. Like other people I 'think' I am 25 and I hope to keep working for as long as it is pleasurable but I will make sure I spend more time enjoying sunshine and healthy food."

Med Life Club properties are sold freehold and despite attracting criticism that the charges seem to take advantage of the elderly rich, the developer does not agree and the agents report that the properties are selling.

Residents have to be over 55 to live in the village but buyers should also ensure they have adequate health insurance in case they need additional care or can no longer live independently.

UK citizens in receipt of a state pension can claim medicines free of charge in Cyprus and those in possession of a European Health Insurance card qualify for free medical treatment.

UK PENSIONERS who choose to become residents of the island can also opt to have all income taxed at a flat rate of five per cent and benefit from no inheritance tax. "There is plenty to do in Cyprus, " adds Dr Jones. "Dee and I go running and we love to go to the beach to swim. Also, Cyprus is only about five hours' flight from the UK.

"Dee and I are very happy together but we are not looking to get married. We have done that. Maybe a little place in Club Med Village is something we will think about for ourselves in the future." Dave Pollard from Fine & Country says:

"This is the biggest village of its kind in the Mediterranean and it's the range of facilities that is taking retirement to a whole new level."

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