Typically, as we understand, he was much more interested in the residents and the volunteers at the new Home rather than all the pomp surrounding a Royal visit. Instead of attending a dinner at Government House on 24 July, he chose to have supper at the home with the staff and residents. Rather than stay in a hotel or at Government House he chose to sleep at the home, save money and make sure the home was ready to receive its Royal visitor for the opening ceremony.
I was lucky enough to be present at the opening, having been involved in raising funds. I was privileged to meet both Princess Alexandra and Mr Angus Ogilvy, but above all to meet Leonard Cheshire. He was charming, encouraging and very appreciative of the work undertaken to establish the Home in Jersey.
This year we are embarking on a new development — our ‘big build’ project — which will enable us to support 28 residents. This is a far cry from the original 14 residents present at the opening. We are hoping that Mrs June Beslievre, the founder of our home, will lay the foundation stone for this extension. She met Leonard several times and it was her drive and inspiration that got Eric Young House built in the first place.
How fitting that the home will be expanding its services and care during the 100th year birthday celebrations for Leonard Cheshire. We are also celebrating his centenary by holding a concert at the Jersey Opera House, featuring local talent — a very high standard on this tiny island! Amongst those performing will be two of the Jersey Cheshire Home’s residents, who are great musicians: one singing, one on percussion.
He was charming, encouraging and very appreciative of the work undertaken to establish the Home in Jersey.