A COUPLE are swapping Leftwich winters for the sunshine capital of New Zealand and starting a new life on the other side of the world.

Linda and Terry Armistead, of Brooklands Drive, are packing up the contents of their home and emigrating to Hawke’s Bay, on the country’s North Island, in February.

Terry, 62, said: “It’s a big step but will be worth it.”

The couple, who married in 2002, have been planning to emigrate for about eight years, a plan which became more serious when Linda’s daughter Rachel moved to New Zealand.

“We went for 17 days the first time we visited, then we managed three weeks, then four weeks, then six weeks, then I went on my own when Rachel was having her second baby and went for about eight weeks,” Linda, 59, said.

“The first time you go you think it’s wonderful, the second time we thought it was just as wonderful and we’ve been every season since – spring, summer, autumn and winter.

“We like how life there is progressing, it’s very much like the 1960s with a very laid-back approach.

“There’s crime, because there’s crime everywhere, but it’s not like here – you don’t get grannies knocked over for their pension outside the post office.”

The Armistead’s will be living with Rachel, her husband Richard and their two sons when they arrive in New Zealand and the container full of all their worldly goods will arrive by sea three months later.

Their house-hunting will start in earnest once they arrive.

They are emigrating on a retirement basis but Linda, who has been working for the Ministry of Justice, and Terry, who has been working at Leftwich Green, aim to find work while they are out there.

The pair also hope the move will be good for their health.

Linda said: “Here we’re just slobs because if you need a pint of milk you get into your car and drive to the shops.

“In New Zealand you don’t, you walk to the shops.

“I feel our way of life will be healthier.”

They will miss friends and family back in the UK, including Linda’s other daughter Nicola Bramhall, Terry’s daughter Sarah Armistead and son Terry, and three grandsons.

“It’s so exciting but also sad,” Linda said.

“If we don’t try it we will never know but we are going to miss our friends and family very very much, in the same way that we’ve missed our New Zealand family.”

The couple leave on February 13 and a farewell party will be held on Saturday, January 25.

Linda said: “Everyone who knows us is welcome to come and say ‘bye but we don’t want any presents as our shipping will have gone.”

The party will take place at Lostock Social Club at 7.30pm.

• Tears of joy were shed during the Guardian’s interview with the Armisteads when Terry chose the moment to ask Linda if they could renew their vows in New Zealand as part of the celebrations for her 60th birthday. She said yes, of course!