Story 40

Each resident is unique and respected

To me, Leonard Cheshire’s legacy is the creation of ‘Homes of Excellence’ where disabled people could find a place to call ‘home’, where they could flourish and pursue their interests while being cared for. Holehird still epitomises these aims today.

Each resident is unique and is respected, whether they choose to live a quiet secluded life or whether they choose to join in the lively, social life of the day room.

At present, we have a lady resident who met Leonard Cheshire and has many happy memories of his visits. She says he was a wonderful, caring man who knew all the residents names, every time he visited.

I was due to meet him myself one day at a dinner being held in his honour at Holehird and was looking forward to seeing a man I’d long admired. Sadly, he was taken ill the day before his visit and never recovered enough after that to visit again.

I started volunteering at Holehird in 1984, after seeing an advertisement in the local paper for volunteers to help the physiotherapist with games and activities on a Thursday afternoon. This fitted in with the tea room business which I ran, giving me chance to volunteer during the quiet ‘out of season’ times. I was made very welcome by the staff, fellow volunteers and residents. Holehird soon became my second family.

One of the highlights of my time there was being asked to represent Holehird for the Queen’s visit to Windermere in 2013. Another memory that stands out was being part of the 50th anniversary celebrations. This occasion was particularly special as we had been told that the home was due for closure. News of a reprieve came just before the party and made this occasion more special and joyful. The home was spruced up and a tea party was prepared. The sun shone all day and supporters joined residents and regional staff to toast the future.

I was made very welcome by the staff, fellow volunteers and residents. Holehird soon became my second family.