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A time for celebration, recollection and reminiscence

This year, the nation has come together in celebrating the Platinum Jubilee of our beloved Queen, Her Royal Highness Elizabeth. On Sunday 6th February 2022, Queen Elizabeth became the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee – which marks 70 years on the throne. She ascended to the throne at the age of 25, in 1952, the same day her father, King George VI died. In her seven decade-long reign, she has seen 14 British Prime Ministers come and go, and has travelled more widely around the world than any monarch before her. What is more, after 70 years on the throne and now at 96 years old, you would be hard pressed to find a better role model, or someone to wholeheartedly admire more than her Majesty. In addition, our admiration for her helps us all feel positive and respectful about getting older. To celebrate this unprecedented anniversary, events and initiatives have taken place throughout the year and will culminate in a four-day UK bank holiday weekend from Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th June providing an opportunity for communities and people throughout the United Kingdom to come together to celebrate the historic milestone. The four days of celebrations will include public events and community activities, as well as national moments of reflection on The Queen’s 70 years of dedicated service.

Jubilee Celebrations

Both staff and residents alike at the award-winning LifeCare Residences retirement communities (of Battersea Place in London, Somerleigh Court in Dorchester, Dorset, and Grove Place in Hampshire) are incredibly patriotic and community spirited and are therefore greatly looking forward to the upcoming bank holiday weekend celebrations where the Union Jack bunting will be flying. In fact, their patriotic spirit goes beyond the Jubilee festivities. At Grove Place, a beautiful retirement community operated by LifeCare Residences in the Hampshire countryside near Romsey, the team planted a tree for the Queen’s Canopy. The Queen’s Green Canopy is a unique tree-planting initiative created to mark the Jubilee, where people from all over the United Kingdom were invited to ‘plant a tree for the Jubilee’. This has been done to create a legacy in honour of The Queen’s leadership of the Nation – which will in turn benefit future generations. Grove Place made their contribution to the initiative with the planting of a noble Red Oak tree which has now joined an already established mix of beautiful trees across the 27-acre estate. Head Gardener, Robin Collins said, “We chose a Quercus Rubra (red oak) to complement the other trees we have on the estate. Some of those trees have been here longer than the Queen’s reign and we hope this tree will be enjoyed by the residents of Grove Place for many years to come.” Richard Powell, General Manager of Grove Place added, “Our residents are hugely patriotic, so this initiative is an excellent way to show a small token of our appreciation.”

At Battersea Place, the first luxury retirement community in London, a stone’s throw from Battersea Park, the team have introduced Jubilee-themed menus, including the iconic Coronation Chicken dish which was originally invented by writer Constance Spry while preparing food for the banquet of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953. Joining the ranks of other royal-inspired dishes like coronation chicken and Victoria sponge, the team have also included Jemma Melvin’s celebratory Lemon Swiss Roll and Amaretti Trifle which was recently picked as the official pudding for the Platinum Jubilee after winning a nationwide competition to find a new dessert. The team at Battersea Place also recently a hosted a special open home event which celebrated the upcoming Jubilee with a Royal-themed garden party on-site. At Somerleigh Court, in the heart of historic Dorchester in Dorset, the team recently hosted a garden high tea to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday.

Glorious Coronation Reflections

As well as being a time of celebration, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is also a time of reflection and recollection. There are many residents at the LifeCare Residences retirement communities who are delighted to reminisce about their treasured moments celebrating the Queen’s coronation, 70 years ago, and indeed, in one case, a previous Jubilee… Grove Place resident, Mr Versey is in the incredibly unique position of remembering the Coronation of the Queen’s father, George VI too! He and his family specifically bought a wireless to listen to his Coronation in 1937. Mr Versey was in his 20’s when Queen Elizabeth was crowned and recalls that he had just completed his national service and was attending college. He watched the coronation in his hometown of Felixstowe where there were over 14 people crammed into a television-owning neighbour’s front room. He recalls that the reception on the 9” black and white TV was “very snowy”, but he distinctly and incredibly recalls watching the Queen and the archbishop walking down the aisle before and after the service. The following week, he and his younger brother accompanied his parents and joined the thousands of well-wishers who packed The Mall. Jim Rough, another Grove Place resident, recalls his memories of that day back in 1953 when he was serving his National Service in the Scots Guards. Leading up to the ‘big day’ he ironed trousers for his fellow soldiers for two consecutive days while others were tasked with polishing boots and brasses. He and his fellow guardsmen were on duty from 4.30am and then standing shoulder to shoulder, forming a solid human wall for 19 hours (with shifts for lunch and a mug of tea). But despite the long day, he recalls how glad he was to have such a wonderful front row ‘seat’ outside Westminster Abbey with a full view of the Golden State Coach.

Merry Rushton, a Battersea Place resident, recalls the “two perfect seats” she and her father were allotted, right opposite the doors of Westminster Abbey. She stayed up the previous night with her grandparents to be in their immaculate seats by 6.00am. She remembers clearly, facing her, on either side of the doors into the Abbey several rows of brightly coloured and distinguished spectators, all clad in yellow. They were Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church and as such didn’t enter an Anglican Church. Even then, despite being a young girl, she felt saddened by it – but is relieved to now see images of the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury worshipping and taking communion together. Even though she was only a child, she never recalled being bored during the long waiting hours she had to endure as there was such an intense atmosphere of excitement and anticipation that alleviated all that. The sight of a group of ladies hoovering the endless red carpet was cause for much laughter, cheering and clapping! She was dazzled by the sight of the arrival of the Peers and Peeresses in their ermine robes and sparkling tiaras. One of her most vivid recollections of the day was when her father, a man not given to overt emotion, suddenly stood up on his chair and began to wave, cheer and shout wildly! He was soon joined by all the crowd who acted in the same manner as Winston Churchill’s black carriage drew nearer – it was their way of expressing their admiration and gratitude to him, so soon after the War. She clearly remembers her childhood thought that “he looked exactly like his newspaper photographs.”
Sylvia, a resident at Somerleigh Court in Dorchester was a girl guide at the time and was taken, along with the scouts from her local village to watch the Coronation in London and remembers how her uniform had to be perfect. She knew at that moment how privileged she was as the carriage passed by and was so thrilled and excited to actually see the Queen and what is more to tell everyone about it too!

Seeing such a glittering spectacle was indeed a sight for sore eyes, wearied by years of war and a wonderful way, as in the present day, for the nation to come together to celebrate.

If you would like to learn more about LifeCare Residences and how we can enhance the ‘every day’ please call T. 0800 009 6950. For those who are unable to visit in person, we are also able to offer virtual tours of our communities at your convenience.

LifeCare Residences. We care about living life