Frank and Rosemary Baldry, best known for their involvement in the Quinns Rocks RSL sub-branch, decided to return to the Isle of Wight because they will never be able to get permanent residency in Australia.
The couple, who are both 70, moved here 10½ years ago on a 410 visa that required them to have enough money to support themselves.
‘Nobody was looking for bells and whistles; all we wanted to say is we are a resident, just to get that little bit more security,’ Mr Baldry said.
Mrs Baldry said there was little security as they got older and the medical costs were becoming unaffordable.
Having private health cover is a condition of their visas, with their monthly fees recently increasing by almost $50 each to a total of $600 a month.
‘We won’t pay for prescriptions, all our bus travel is free (in the UK),’ Mrs Baldry said.
‘We will be much better off ” we won’t have all the medical expenses that we have here.’
Full of mixed feelings, the grandparents said they had enjoyed becoming part of the Quinns Rocks community, where they ran a bed-and-breakfast from their home.
‘We will miss the people ” we loved it here,’ Mrs Baldry said.
‘We are leaving a lot of good friends and acquaintances,’ her husband said.
Mr Baldry, who retired as the Quinns Rocks RSL president after this year’s Anzac Day service, said he would remain in touch with the group.
‘I’m pleased that the RSL has gained strength over the years,’ he said.
The Royal Navy veteran and former policeman said Anzac services in Quinns Rocks had grown from about 250 people nine years ago to about 4000 this year.
He said highlights had been the RSL’s involvement with local schools and colleges, 17 of which laid wreaths on April 25, and the partnership recently formed with the northern suburbs branch of the Military Brotherhood Military Motorcycling Club.
The RSL held a farewell for the couple at the Quinns Rocks Sports Club on Sunday, the eve of their departure. They had sold everything and were taking just two suitcases and two carry-on bags back to the Isle of Wight, where their son and his family live.
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