Disabled veterans at The Royal Star & Garter Home in Solihull welcomed student nurses, nursing officers and a military chaplain from Birmingham City University to share their experiences at a special military-themed day.
The event, ‘Exercise Nurses Endeavour’, created a forum for military nursing students and residents at The Royal Star & Garter Homes to discuss their experiences in the Armed Forces, which spanned more than 70 years.
Organised by Student Nursing Cohort 10/13 of the Defence School of Healthcare Education, the day started with military traditions including ‘colours’, a parade and a military church service, led by Padre Young. The Last Post and Reveille was played, and the scene was set for sharing by young and old of their military experiences. Derek, a Navy veteran of the Second World War, related his experiences with a natural humour which had everyone smiling and enjoying his tales. Then Maggie recalled her posting to Bletchley Park. With many memories to share, Maggie spoke about how living in The Royal Star & Garter Home in Solihull is a wonderful ‘posting’ and here she will remain until her last posting is decided – a comment which moved her audience deeply.
Students then discussed recent operations in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as providing information on modern warships, whilst more residents shared stories about their time, or their partner’s time, in service. Lunch was a regimental themed meal, providing an opportunity for reminiscences about the residents’ military memories. The day ended with a sing-along to a pianist who played some favourite songs from the 1930s.
Pauline Shaw, Director of Care & Service Development at The Royal Star & Garter Homes, commented: “It was an inspirational and hugely motivating day, reinforcing the excellence of the Armed Forces and paying tribute to the wonderful residents at The Royal Star & Garter Homes who have also served.”
Holly-Jane Thurgood, a Royal Navy mental health nurse, co-ordinated the event. She commented: “The event provided the opportunity for residents to experience modern day life in the military whilst giving them the chance to share their memories of military life with their younger counterparts.”