Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra spoke to residents at The Royal Star & Garter Home in Surbiton and viewed some of the state-of-the-art equipment available there during a visit on Wednesday, 23 January.
Her Royal Highness was at the Home as part of the Founders’ Day celebrations, marking the Charity’s 103rd anniversary.
Princess Alexandra has been President of the Charity, which cares for ex-Servicemen and women and their partners living with disability or dementia, since 1964. Her cousin, Her Majesty The Queen, became The Royal Star & Garter Homes’ Patron in 1953.
The visit was one of two events held at the Surbiton Home to mark Founders’ Day, and followed a Tea Party earlier in January to celebrate the special day.
Her Royal Highness was received by Fr Martin Hislop, Deputy Lieutenant for Kingston upon Thames and Vicar of St Luke’s Church of England Parish, before meeting The Royal Star & Garter Homes’ Deputy Chairman Malcolm Chapple, and the Mayors of Kingston and Richmond. She also met long-serving Charity volunteer John Parvin, who was awarded the British Empire Medal in this year’s Queen’s New Year’s Honours list, and Raquel Pena Aristizabal, Activities & Volunteers Manager who won the Best Activities Co-ordinator in the National Care Awards in 2018.
Princess Alexandra was escorted around the Home by the Charity’s Chief Executive Andy Cole and Director of Care Pauline Shaw. Raquel demonstrated with residents the new OmiVista Mobii magic table, an interactive projector which keeps residents physically and mentally active by stimulating movement, memory, reasoning and recall. It was purchased by the Charity following a successful fundraising drive.
Her Royal Highness then chatted to residents in the café-bar area who were flower arranging, before going upstairs to see a weekly exercise programme held at the Home’s Physiotherapy Room. Her Royal Highness also visited the Home’s kitchen and spoke with the catering team from Signature Dining.
Before leaving, Princess Alexandra also spoke to long-serving staff – some of who have worked more than 30 years for the Charity – and was presented with a posy by a resident.
One resident who met Princess Alexandra said: “It was very nice talking to her. She was very friendly and easy to talk to. I thought it was lovely that she came to the Home, it was an honour.”
The Royal Star & Garter Homes was set up to care for severely injured young men returning from the battlefields of the First World War, opening its doors to residents on January 14, 1916.