Ex Royal Navy submarine engineer Tony Simms is celebrating 20 years at the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society care home in Banstead.
As a former Royal Navy submariner, Tony, 80, has been a resident at the home since 1996 and is now the Society’s longest serving resident. The team at the home marked the occasion for one of the home’s biggest characters, with Chief Executive Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt presenting Tony with an official Royal Navy submarine book.
Tony was wheelchair-bound when he first moved to the home as he struggled with a number of health issues. Within the caring environment of the modern facilities at Belvedere House and in the specialist dementia care unit, both residents and staff have encouraged Tony to regain his mobility and become self-caring and independent.
Tony’s health has drastically improved over the past 20 years and his wheelchair-bound days are hard to image when you see Tony first up on the dance floor showing everyone his trademark moves!
Tony served in the Royal Navy Submarine Service from November 1952 to August 1965, originally a Chief Engineer in A class diesel submarines and then as an Engineer Lieutenant. After leaving the service Tony worked as a diesel mechanic before spending time on the oil rigs as a deep sea diver carrying out vital underwater repairs, where he suffered from a typical, debilitating and painful diving affliction known as “the bends”.
Anne Kasey, Home Manager at The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, said: “During the 20 years Tony has been a resident with us, he has always participated well and got involved in all the activities and outings. He is very helpful with other residents and is a wonderfully kind and caring person. Tony has been at the home for longer than some of the staff and is most certainly a member of our large family.
“Tony has seen many changes over the years, both with the environment and losing many of his friends within the home but as long as he has people around him that he knows, he has managed the changes very well. He is always so grateful of everything we do for him here at Belvedere House and is a real pleasure to have around.”
The nursing home, which last year celebrated its 150th anniversary, has provided nursing care and accommodation to support elderly, sick or disabled seafarers, their widows and dependants since 1865. The purpose-built nursing care home is situated within 14 acres of leafy Surrey countryside and offers a full range of on-site services, including nursing and specialised dementia care. With its idyllic setting and first class care, it’s easy to see why the home is a ‘safe haven’ for retired seafarers like Tony.