July 2013 – The Royal Star & Garter Homes is delighted to announce the 107th birthday of Richmond Home resident, Jack Ovens.
Born locally in Teddington in 1906, Jack served in The Royal Dragoons regiment between 1926 and 1932, first as a Trooper, then being promoted to Corporal of Horse. Jack, who first started looking after horses in the Army at the age of 18, was at one point in charge of 43 horses. In 1929, he was posted to Secunderabad, India, and was then subsequently recalled during the Second World War, retraining as a tank driver and serving in Egypt and then Italy. Jack has been a resident at The Royal Star & Garter Home in Richmond since August 2012.
Jack has a lifetime’s love of horses so, in keeping with our commitment to encourage residents to live life to the full, The Royal Star & Garter Homes arranged for an equine birthday surprise for him in the form of a visit from Jim the shire horse. Dr Andreas Liefooghe, from Operation Centaur, who has run Equine Assisted Learning sessions for disabled children at the Holly Lodge Centre in Richmond, kindly brought Jim to visit Jack outside our Richmond Home. That’s Life TV presenter Adrian Mills, whose grandfather shares a military past with Jack, having served in the Household Cavalry, came along to congratulate Jack too.
“The way you can tell if a horse likes you is if they nudge you with their nose”, Jack Ovens.
The Holly Lodge Centre is a registered charity which offers visitors close encounters with the diverse wildlife and distinct heritage of Richmond Park.
Like The Royal Star & Garter Homes, it is supported by HRH Princess Alexandra. Residents from the Richmond Home have been frequent visitors to the Holly Lodge Centre over the years, participating in the imaginative and hands-on activities in the Centre’s recreated Victorian room. Operation Centaur is based at Holly Lodge and is an organisation set up to promote the relevance of the horse as a contemporary working animal in partnership with humans.
In the afternoon, the Home arranged a birthday party with live music for all the residents, relatives and staff, with guest-of-honour, Jack, receiving a card from our patron, Her Majesty the Queen, cakes and of course, our warmest wishes.