Living in Very Sheltered Flats since: 2011

1.    Where did you live before coming to the Almshouses?

I lived in the Mary Warner Homes Almshouses in Boyton and I really liked it there.

2.    What made you decide you wanted to live in very sheltered accommodation?

I wanted to remain as independent as possible but as my health deteriorated I had to consider moving to a place where I could receive a considerable amount of care. I’d had rheumatic fever as a child which left my heart very weak and by 2010 my heart problems meant I needed more care than was possible in the Mary Warner Almshouses.

3.    Why did you choose the Almshouses?

I’d heard the refurbishment at the Seckford Almshouses was beautiful and that the care was second to none.  I looked at some other places but as soon as I saw the Very Sheltered Flats, I knew they offered me everything I was looking for – professional care combined with independence!

4.    What did you think when you first saw the Very Sheltered Flats?

I was really taken with them. I came for a general tour the first time and then made a second visit during which I saw the flat that I am living in now.

5.    How long did you have to wait for a place?

Six months

6.    What was your first day/night like? 

A removals company brought my stuff over in a van but I’d been downsizing for years so it all fitted into my Almshouse flat easily.  Everybody was very kind and it was a relief to be in a safe and comfortable place.

7.    What do you value and enjoy most about the Almshouses?

I feel secure and at home – both things I really value.  I enjoy meeting the other people who live here but I have my own space too – this flat is my home.

I join in with what I can, when I can, for example I enjoy the art classes and the films, social afternoons and teas – going to these things is how I got to know people when I first moved here.

8.    What would you say to someone thinking of coming to visit or to move in here?

“Don’t leave it till crunch time – come and enjoy it!”

9.    Could you tell us about your life story?

I was born in Leicestershire and when I left school I wanted to go to university but my parents suggested I trained as a secretary, which is what I did.

I met my first boyfriend, Norman before the Second World War broke out – he was training to be an engineer. When the war started, Norman joined the Merchant Navy and became a wireless operator on the SS Maidan, part of the 54-strong Jervis Bay convoy. The convoy was attacked in the Atlantic by the Admiral Scheer, a German destroyer. Sadly, Norman’s ship, was lost (along with six other cargo ships) with no surviving crew. Many young men lost their lives in this incident, including the captain of the Jervis Bay itself who was posthumously awarded the VC.

During the war, I trained to be a nurse in Lincoln specialising in psychiatric rehabilitation. Then I moved to London and worked as a nurse at Moorfields Eye Hospital. In1948 I met the man who was to become my husband – he was a lecturer at London University. We married and had three children, two girls and a boy. Although we lived in London, we owned a cottage near Woodbridge where the children and I spent a great deal of the school holidays which cemented our love of Suffolk.

I worked as a school librarian before ill health forced me to give it up. By then my children were grown up and I moved to Devon to help one of my daughters with her children. Then I moved back to Suffolk and into the Mary Warner Almshouses. In 2011 I moved into the Seckford Almshouses.

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