This Remembrance was even more poignant as we all looked back upon the Centenary of the First World War and remembered all the young servicemen that were killed or injured during the conflict. One of our Solihull Home residents, John Ferguson, who served in the Army was invited to join our Surbiton residents at the Cenotaph in London on Remembrance Sunday and kindly wrote about his experiences for us.
I woke up Saturday morning with huge anticipation about the day ahead. We left Solihull to travel down to Surbiton at 1.30pm. Sue Tompkins, Home Manager, drove my car and Terry, Health Care Assistant, accompanied me. The weather was horrendous but we arrived on time, to a huge welcome from the Surbiton team. I settled in and was given a guided tour by Kathy and her team. What a beautiful home. I had a lovely tea with the residents and retired at 8.00pm, conserving my strength for the day ahead.
I was woken at 6.00am to ready myself for the day and breakfast with the residents. Sue and Terry joined us. We left just after 8.00am to get into the centre of London for 9.00am. We were allocated a position in column D behind the Chelsea Pensioners, one of whom came over and shook our hands. I felt extremely excited, proud and honoured to be there, not just representing the Armed Forces but also The Royal Star & Garter Homes. We stood for what seemed like hours, waiting to march. We set off and marched our way towards the Cenotaph, taking in all the crowds, comments and applause. It was an overwhelming feeling that I felt from the crowd. There was a real feel of unity and camaraderie and a sense of pride from all involved. The weather was kind to us but bitterly cold. This didn’t stop my sense of determination to get to the Cenotaph, borrowing hat, scarves etc from my fellow escorts.
We left to go back to Surbiton ready for the Sunday Lunch waiting for us. It was lovely to chat with the residents and get to know them better. I said goodbye and thanked the team for the lovely care that I had received during my stay.
We left Surbiton and arrived back in Solihull at 6.00pm, ready for supper. I was feeling rather weary by this time but wouldn’t have changed a thing about my weekend activities.