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29 November 2017

Coate Water Care resident honours Remembrance Sunday at Swindon’s Cenotaph

Remembrance Sunday is a day to remember and honour those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our country’s freedoms. As such, it is a date on the calendar we always celebrate at Coate Water Care, along with VE Day and the Queen’s Birthday.

Behind the doors of our seven residential care homes, that usually means a tea party and the occasional stab at fancy dress – often led by one of our several staff members that have served in the British Armed Forces.

But as Maureen Fossett, a home administrator at Ashbury Lodge Care Home in Swindon, relates, this year Remembrance Sunday was an extra special occasion for one particular Coate Water Care resident. Step forward former army captain Stanley ‘Max’ Blackman!

“I know how much Max likes to attend the service, so this Remembrance Day I took him to the Cenotaph in front of Swindon town hall,” says Maureen.

There Max witnessed MPs, local councillors, clergymen and other dignitaries laying wreaths and bowing their heads in solemn remembrance. Veterans and cadets marched in tight formation to the uplifting sound of bugles and drums as onlookers packed the pavements along Regent Street.

“As we walked up to the town hall, Max was thanking everyone he passed for coming to the service,” continues Maureen, “but I thought how sad - we should be thanking him. That said, many people asked to shake his hand, which pleased Max a great deal.”

“After the service I asked Max if he wanted to go for a coffee as it was so cold. Well, to my surprise he said he preferred a gin and tonic! I thought ‘he’s never going to drink that’, but after finding a safe place for Max in his wheelchair I went to get him his G & T from the pub next to the Cenotaph.”

“Then ‘shock horror’ on my return … no Max! Where could he have gone? Luckily, someone who saw me momentarily panicking pointed to the stairs and yes, Max was halfway down them looking for the toilet!”

“It was an amusing end to a sombre day and as Remembrance Sunday was just two days after his 99th birthday, Max certainly deserved a celebratory drink. And oh boy did he enjoy it!!”

This year marks 99 years since the armistice brought the First World War to an end, a conflict the American writer Ernest Hemingway described as “the most colossal, murderous, mismanaged butchery that has ever taken place on the earth.”

“The very least we can do once a year is remember all the young men who made the ultimate sacrifice,” says Maureen. “As for Max, he is a real hero to everyone at Coate Water Care and we make him feel appreciated every single day at Ashbury Lodge.”

Please contact Tracy Ferrier on 01793 496827 to discuss your care requirements or to arrange a visit to Ashbury Lodge, an outstanding residential care home next to Coate Water Country Park.

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