Digger and dumper wish comes true for building site fan John, 84

84-year-old John had a birthday wish come true on a Salisbury building site.
John Parfitt, who lives here at Braemar Lodge, donned a hard hat, hi-viz jacket and tough boots for the chance to sit at the controls of a digger and a dumper truck.

The visit was a hands-on opportunity to check progress on the home’s forthcoming extension, Stratford Court.

In his working life, Watford-born John did a range of jobs including being an agency worker on various building sites, hence his interest.

With all safety precautions followed and under close supervision, he was thrilled with the visit.

[caption id="attachment_5424" align="alignnone" width="1024"] John Parfitt in the digger with Site Manager Paul Findlay, left, and Companionship Team Leader Graham Ballard.[/caption]

“I’m happy as Larry,” he said after a few minutes sitting at the controls of the eight-ton digger. “I’ve been looking across from Braemar Lodge, keeping an eye on how it’s all going and seeing the guys driving round. On my birthday in December I asked if I could come on-site and see it for real at a suitable stage and when the weather was good enough. Sitting here I just feel I’m in the right place at the right time. It’s comfortable and you have a sense of the power it can deliver.”
After being in the digger, John went to sit in a three-ton dumper truck, saying: “This is lovely, a great chance to see everything from a different angle out in the fresh air.”
John, who has lived in Salisbury since the 1980s, was accompanied throughout the visit by Site Manager Paul Findlay who explained how the controls on both vehicles work.
Paul said: “It was a real pleasure to give John such a great experience. I could tell he had been on building sites before. He had all the site banter.”
While John was enjoying himself in the digger and dumper, fellow residents Catherine Brighty and Pamela Rees were turning ‘detectorists’. They took a metal detector to search for items under the rubble and mud in a small, safe area well away from the main construction site.

[caption id="attachment_5425" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Catherine Brighty, left, and Pamela Rees get to grips with a metal detector in a safe area away from the main construction site for the home’s forthcoming extension, Stratford Court[/caption]

Although no treasure was revealed, they found various pieces of metal including screws, nails, coins, wire, a drill bit, a tap and a battery.

The residents’ visit provided an opportunity to see how the build is developing since groundworks began in November 2022.

Stratford Court is on the site of a former charity-run care home which had been lying vacant before it was demolished in 2020.

The new extension will house 36 bedrooms, each with an en-suite wet room, split over three floors, including a garden floor.

Accommodation will extend to 2,700 sq m or 29,052 sq ft.

As well as bedrooms, there will be plant, training and staff rooms and a second-floor guest suite. The main entrance and reception area will be accessed from road level.

The build programme is expected to last around 18 months, with interiors and fit out due in spring 2024 and overall construction completed in summer 2024.

When it is ready, some Braemar Lodge residents will move in while the original home undergoes a phased refurbishment with 49 new bedrooms, taking the combined capacity to 85 bedrooms.

Ian Heard, Group Director of Construction at Colten Developments, said the construction will involve around 30 sub-contractor companies employing around 250 tradespeople.
“Everything needs coordinating to ensure the project is delivered on time and on budget,” he explained. “Every construction project has its challenges but we are a compact professional team operating under one roof and have the ability to make dynamic decisions to overcome any challenge. This is an exciting project for Colten Developments and we are looking forward to delivering another fine home to Colten Care.
“The most important thing on this project is to ensure that we keep any disruption to Braemar Lodge to a bare minimum so that our residents aren’t impacted. Our site manager is in regular contact with the home to keep them informed on progress and any activities that may cause any disturbance.”

Salisbury Cathedral stalwart honoured with ‘stunning’ falcon sculpture 

An author, historian and Salisbury Cathedral stalwart has had a unique sculpture unveiled in his honour at Braemar Lodge where he spent his final years
After his death aged 94 on New Year’s Day 2020, the family of Tim Hatton OBE made a generous donation so that Braemar Lodge could choose and commission a garden artwork for fellow residents to enjoy.

Members of the home’s gardening team knew that Tim was a recognised expert on the Cathedral and had spent nearly 20 years there as a volunteer guide.

Head Gardener Charles Hubberstey discussed ideas for a suitable piece of art with Lesley King, Braemar Lodge Gardener.
“Lesley and I considered various options carefully,” said Charles. “We thought of something to do with Salisbury Cathedral and its world-famous spire. It’s well known that peregrine falcons have nested on the top of the spire in the past few years, so the idea of a falcon seemed right, especially for a sculpture that was to be sited outdoors and among nature.”
After some research and with the agreement of the home, Charles and Lesley commissioned Lymington-based metal artist Michael Turner to design and produce the work.

Michael is an internationally recognised sculptor who makes robust, handcrafted garden artwork inspired by nature using recycled materials.

[caption id="attachment_4871" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Braemar Lodge Home Manager Jackie Cash with resident Joan Hills.[/caption]

The result of his commission from Braemar Lodge is a stainless-steel falcon, just over life size, mounted on a six-foot oak branch.

Charles unveiled the falcon to a gathering of residents in the lounge before setting it on a plinth in the garden. Its simple inscription reads: ‘Thank You Tim Hatton’.

Residents, many of whom fondly recall Tim, immediately voiced their approval of what is the first garden sculpture at the home.
Marigold Routh said: “It’s very beautiful, stunning. The way it is poised on the wood, you feel its eyes are focused on you. I love its curved talons. I knew Tim very well and used to see his wife Sarah who was assiduous in visiting him regularly. Tim loved anything to do with the Cathedral and I’m sure he would have loved this sculpture.”
Tim was the author of a book on the history of Salisbury Cathedral, The Man Who Moved a Cathedral. He also published an autobiography, Tock Tock Birds, charting his military career including spells with the Indian Army and Gurkha Rifles.

In his 20s, he was a Company Commander during the 1947 partition of the Punjab, helping to escort 100,000 Muslims on foot through hostile Hindu territory to the safety of Pakistan.

He worked in Malaysia between 1948 and 1966 spending time in both the colonial service and as a director of the Malaysian Special Branch.
His distinguished career in the civil service brought him an MBE and an OBE and was followed by a period doing voluntary work in education.
He became a Cathedral guide after he and Sarah retired to Salisbury in 1994.

In his years as a guide, he mentored dozens of junior colleagues and especially enjoyed acting as an interpreter for foreign visitors.

He stepped down in 2013 and made his final return to the Cathedral on a visit with fellow Braemar Lodge residents when he was 93 in October 2018.
Resident and bird lover Helen Scott, who has often helped to feed birds who come into the garden, said: “I think the sculpture is magnificent. It will go very well here as long as it doesn’t frighten away the other birds!”

Seas of red as residents honour the fallen  

Residents at Colten Care homes in the south have knitted, sewn, crocheted, painted and sculpted thousands of poppies as heartfelt tributes for Remembrance season.
Many of the handmade works feature in outdoor hanging displays designed to prompt visitors and passers-by to stop and reflect.

As well as poppies, homes have held arts and crafts sessions in which residents – including many service veterans – have painted pictures on the theme of wartime sacrifice and shared their thoughts and memories with each other.

Residents at one home, Amberwood House in Ferndown, spent two months preparing an exterior floral ‘waterfall’ made entirely from the ends of recycled plastic bottles.

[caption id="attachment_4579" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Amberwood House in Ferndown produced a poppy waterfall using the ends of recycled plastic bottles. On the left is resident Jim Smith and Companionship Team colleagues Sharon McVicar, standing, and Kirsty Richmond-Cole. On the right is Home Manager Diane Nicholls with residents, from left, Mary Whitehouse, Marjorie Hutchings and Noreen Hewitt.[/caption]

Companionship Team Leader Kirsty Richmond-Cole said: “It soon became apparent that the residents were addicted to creating the poppies and they started a factory line which consisted of stations for painting the first coat, drying with a hairdryer, adding a further coat, painting the poppy centre, further drying and then top coating.
“When they were all ready, I spent three evenings in the rain, drilling holes in the poppies, erecting the chicken wire, attaching the poppies to the wire with paper fasteners and creating the display. The finished result was worth it and amazing.”
Marjorie Hutchings, one of the residents involved in the artwork, said: “Creating such a large display was so enjoyable. It is beautifully eye-catching considering it is all made out of recycled plastic.”

In Salisbury, the finished display at Braemar Lodge in Stratford Road numbered more than 1,900 handcrafted poppies.

While most were made by residents, families, staff and close community contacts, the home also received donated poppies from as far afield as Scotland.
Resident Delia Bailey said: “I am an avid knitter so was delighted to have been part of this project. I started to knit poppies in August and made 140 in total. The display looks splendid and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it.”
The home’s Customer Support Advisor Tanya Williams said: “We were completely overwhelmed with the response to our call for poppies, including so many from friends in the community and anonymous donors.

“It has been a labour of love but the finished display has far exceeded our expectations.”

St Catherines View in Winchester collected nearly 1,500 poppies after it reached out to the community to help with a display.

[caption id="attachment_4581" align="alignnone" width="1024"] At St Catherines View in Winchester are, standing front, from left, Home Manager Vanda Baker and residents Wendy Lunn and Nalini Bhagwat. Behind them are, from left, Chris George, Chairman of the Royal British Legion Winchester Branch, Immy Fletcher, Companionship Team member, and Maintenance Assistant Trevor Warder who made the silhouette of the saluting soldier for the home’s display.[/caption]

Among those who responded to a Facebook plea from Companionship Team Leader Laura Sheldrake was a lady, Jackie Jenkins, who lives in Yorkshire.

Chris George, chairman of the Royal British Legion Winchester Branch, who visited the home to see the display, said: “It is important that everyone gets the opportunity to be able to remember our fallen heroes and Laura and her team have made sure that this can happen for the residents of St Catherines View.

“It was an absolute pleasure to be invited to the home and to meet some of the residents at the home, a very humbling experience.”

In the New Forest, team members at Belmore Lodge in Lymington filmed residents sharing their wartime memories.

Footage of the discussions was shown to an audience gathered in the lounge, prompting Lauren Cooper, Companionship Team member, to say: “It was incredibly reflective and moving.”

One relative, Gill Knight, who was present, said: “I think it is great what they have done here. I heard the residents talking about their memories and it was just so special.”

Belmore Lodge also invited residents to make clay poppies and produce their own paintings on the subject of Remembrance.

Among activities at other Colten Care homes, residents at Bourne View in Poole painted poppy images on pebbles for distribution in the neighbourhood, Whitecliffe House in Blandford held a poppy-themed colouring competition with local schoolchildren and Newstone House in Sturminster Newton welcomed the Shroton Ukulele Band to play at a British-themed Remembrance afternoon.

All 21 Colten Care homes hold annual services of Remembrance in line with wider Armistice Day commemorations.

A key aim is to honour veterans living in each home and families with current serving personnel.

At some homes, including Brook View in West Moors, Dorset, residents are invited to join official parades and services taking place in the community and to lay wreaths.

Royal reply amazes our poet Jennifer

Jennifer who wrote and sent the Queen a poem as a Diamond Jubilee tribute has spoken of her joy and amazement in receiving a reply.
Jennifer Whitaker, a fan of wordplay, penned and sent off the nine-line verse shortly before the national celebration in June.

It accompanied a letter from our home summarising how residents and staff would be marking the occasion.

Neither Jennifer nor anyone else at the home expected to hear back, but amid great excitement a letter with a Windsor Castle masthead arrived at reception.

It was addressed to ‘Braemar Lodge residents and staff’, sent care of Jackie Cash, Home Manager, and signed and dated in blue ink by Lady-in-Waiting Mary Morrison.

In the typed note, Mary writes: “The Queen wishes me to thank you for your letter in which you told Her Majesty about your preparations for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

“Her Majesty was pleased to hear about your celebrations and hopes you had a wonderful time and have enjoyed sharing your many memories of special Royal events in times past.
“I am also to say how touched The Queen was by the warm tribute to Her Majesty composed by Mrs Jennifer Whitaker.
“The Queen much appreciates your thoughts for her and your kindness in writing as you did in this historic year.”

When staff showed Jennifer the letter, she said: “I just couldn’t believe it. I was thrilled. I felt quite overcome and emotional.

“The Queen really is a marvellous lady and for her to have instructed such a response is amazing.”

Jackie said: “We accompanied Jennifer’s poem with a summary of what we had planned for the Jubilee, including our garden party, making a mosaic tribute and attending the lighting of the Beacon on Old Sarum.

“We had been waiting with cautious anticipation for a possible reply but when you think of the thousands of messages the Queen must receive, especially recently with the Jubilee, it’s astonishing that she and her staff took the time to respond to us.
“We’ve given the letter of reply to Jennifer to keep. She is overjoyed by it. We’re having it framed and I’m sure it will have pride of place in her room.”
Jennifer’s poem is titled: ‘God save our Queen Elizabeth of three score years and ten’.

‘I doubt the world will ever see the like of her again

She went to Kenya as a Princess, came back as a Queen

This is the memory most poignant I have ever seen.

Serious at serious moments but tickled pink by fun

“Good morning Mr Bond” and the Olympics had begun

Through silver, gold now platinum years

She has been our rock and stay

So, God Save Queen Elizabeth

Hip Hip Hip Hurray!!’

Reflecting on her poem, Jennifer said: “I’ve always written poetry, ever since childhood. I call it ‘doggerel’, comic verse that doesn’t necessarily have a rhythm.

“My tribute to the Queen simply flowed, and it seemed absolutely fitting to send it to Her Majesty in this Jubilee Year.”

Braemar Lodge’s garden party boosts The Bridge Youth Project

A summer garden party has raised more than £500 for city charity The Bridge Youth Project.
Residents and staff welcomed families, friends and community contacts for the occasion.

Fundraising was driven by the sale of arts and crafts items handmade by residents in the weeks beforehand along with plants and flowers they grew specially.

Ideal as small gifts, the craft items included greeting cards, bookmarks and decorated key rings.

Under the direction of Colten Care’s Music & Arts Partner Fiona Pritchard, a residents’ choir delivered the party soundtrack by singing and drumming along to popular Eurovision hits of yesteryear by, among others, Abba, Sandie Shaw, Lulu and Cliff Richard.

[caption id="attachment_4542" align="alignnone" width="756"] Braemar Lodge resident Freddy Bull and Companionship Team member Carol Petty enjoy singing and drumming during the garden party.[/caption]

Braemar Lodge chose The Bridge Youth Project as its main charity this year under a Colten Care policy of enabling residents at all 21 of its homes to support good causes in the community.

Home Manager Jackie Cash said: “We always enjoy preparing and hosting our garden party. It’s a fun, social experience for our residents and it helps us maintain community links. At the same time, supporting The Bridge Youth Project in their superb work in the community is both a privilege and a pleasure.”

The Bridge Youth Project works to raise young people’s aspirations and resilience through mentoring, emotional literacy and courses in social skills and wellbeing.

One of the people involved in the charity’s founding in 1994 was a former Braemar Lodge resident, Neville Jennings.

And making a personal visit to the home for the garden party was current chair of trustees, Bill Graham.
Thanking the home for hosting the party and raising the funds, Bill said: “The residents and staff at Braemar Lodge clearly put in a great deal of effort to make this occasion a success, and we are so grateful for all they are doing on our behalf.”
Among the beneficiaries of previous Braemar Lodge garden parties and year-round fundraising are homeless charity Alabaré, the Salisbury Hospital League of Friends, Salisbury Hospice, Salisbury Trust for the Homeless, Horatio’s Garden, Age UK and the Naomi House and Jacksplace hospices.

Braemar residents celebrate Her Majesty’s 70-year reign

Residents at Braemar Lodge went all out to enjoy themselves for the Queen’s historic Platinum Jubilee.
Thanks to an application by our Home Manager Jackie Cash to Salisbury City Council, residents were invited to attend the lighting of the Beacon on Old Sarum.
One, Margaret Drage, said: “It was a joy to be there on such a magnificent evening. It was a marvellous experience.”
Jackie said: “Many of our residents are of a similar age to the Queen, or a bit younger, and it was lovely to enable them to be part of such a historic occasion, one that perhaps none of us will see again in our lifetimes.”

Amid Union Jacks, dancing and singing, Braemar Lodge also staged a festive ‘street party’ in the garden in honour of the occasion.

The Jubilee buzz began weeks before the extended Bank Holiday weekend with residents making themed artworks and decorations.

One initiative involved assembling a handmade Jubilee mosaic which everyone at the home was proud to put on display.

And resident Jennifer Whitaker even sent the Queen a poem. “I’ve always written poetry, ever since childhood,” she said.  “I call it ‘doggerel’, comic verse that doesn’t necessarily have a rhythm. My tribute to the Queen simply flowed, and it seemed absolutely fitting to send it to Her Majesty in this Jubilee Year.”

At Braemar Lodge and our other 20 homes across the south, commemorative Jubilee trees have been planted as a lasting tribute to Her Majesty.

Braemar Lodge shortlisted for top national award

Braemar Lodge is a finalist in the ‘Dignity and Respect Care Home of the Year’ category at the National Care Awards, now in their 23rd year
Organised by care industry body Careinfo.org, the awards are designed to ‘celebrate the very best people in the long-term care sector, highlighting excellence and rewarding those who work tirelessly to provide consistently outstanding care’.

Home Manager Alison Bremner said: “The shortlisting is testament to our investment in staff and their development.
“It’s all about enabling that sense of loyalty and commitment to the community of Braemar Lodge and being the best we can be.”
Feedback from residents also reflects our home’s success.

105-year-old Iris Stowell, our oldest resident, was among a pop-up choir who recently made a short trip from the home to the city’s Victoria Park for a public performance of songs from the Abba musical Mamma Mia.

Iris said: “We had so much fun. It was brilliant.”

A second Colten Care home, Outstanding-rated Kingfishers in New Milton, Hampshire, is on this year’s shortlist in the category of ‘Care Team’.

Winners of the National Care Awards are due to be announced at a ceremony at the Hilton London Metropole in November 2021.

‘I would walk 500 miles’, say residents

‘Over 31 days, walkers at our home completed enough routes around their garden to match the entire distance from Salisbury to their namesake village of Braemar, 500 miles to the north in Aberdeenshire – plus 255 miles back.
Our initiative raised more than £500 for Salisbury-based social enterprise The Pantry Partnership, our home’s nominated charity for this year.

Kay Callow achieved the most miles among individual residents taking part. She clocked up ten miles by completing 101 laps of the garden and three laps of Victoria Park.
Kay said: “The challenge was inspiring and I went walking every day to ensure we reached our goal.”
As well as signage in the garden, there was a map on a pop-up banner showing the virtual route up to Braemar village in the Highlands.

Walkers’ progress was shown against four stages, with city ‘checkpoints’ in Birmingham, Manchester, Carlisle and Edinburgh guiding the way.

Home Manager Alison Bremner said: “Our Braemar-to-Braemar challenge was fantastic and a huge success. We exceeded both our fundraising and mileage goals. It was a great way to encourage everyone to enjoy being outside in the spring weather and have something to work towards that involved both staff and residents. Just like The Proclaimers, our residents proved they were only too happy to walk 500 miles.”

The initiative has gained warm praise from staff and residents at Craigard House in Ballater, the nearest care home to Braemar village itself. Like Braemar, Ballater is in Royal Deeside, so-called because of the Royal Family’s Balmoral Castle estate just a few miles away.

Craigard House is owned and operated by Craigard Care whose Managing Director Stephen Cowie said: “All our staff and residents were delighted to learn that Braemar Lodge had chosen our beautiful area of Royal Deeside as their destination. We would like to extend our congratulations and admiration to the staff and residents of Braemar Lodge for their fantastic achievement of completing their Braemar-to-Braemar 500-mile virtual walk.”

The Pantry Partnership creates meals from food that would otherwise go to waste and shares them across the community.

Volunteers help to collect, grow and prepare the food and cooking skills are taught through workshops and courses.

In a message to Braemar Lodge, Fiona Ollerhead, founder of The Pantry Partnership, described the walking initiative as a ‘fabulous feat’, adding: “We love how you have embraced the virtualness of a lockdown fundraiser. We are honoured by your amazing work and support.  I think you must all be considered as Salisbury’s very own Sir Captain Toms. Thank you so much.”