The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society has provided nursing care and accommodation to support elderly, sick or disabled seafarers, their widows and dependants, for more than 150 years. In that time, staff have cared for thousands of residents who have served the country in war and peace time in the Royal Navy, and supported the UK’s economy in the Merchant Navy and as fishermen.
One of the home’s tenants is Mr Roy Ticehurst, who joined the Royal Navy at aged 18. Roy spent time as a naval guard in Sri Lanka, protecting members of the Women’s Royal Naval Service and essential supplies. He also saw action in the D-Day Landings and witnessed many esteemed comrades lost in action.
Roy moved to the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society as a tenant in 1992 with his wife, who sadly passed away in April 2010. Today he enjoys the company of his friends at the Society, spending time in the on-site bar and joining in regular outings.
Roy is extremely proud of the time he spent at sea. He has sold poppies for the Royal British Legion for more than 40 years and has taken part in projects run by the Society to raise awareness among the younger generation of the important role both Navies play in our society.
Anne Kasey, Home Manager at The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, said: “Roy’s time at sea and at the D-Day Landings is just one of the amazing stories our residents tell every day. Many residents and tenants have spent time serving their country, whether through the forces, in the Merchant Navy or battling the elements as fishermen to contribute to the economy of our island nation.
“We are proud of all our residents every day, but this Older People’s Day we wanted to raise awareness of the sacrifices many of the people who live here have made and celebrate their stories. As our population grows older, it’s important we acknowledge the role of older people in our communities and celebrate all they have to offer for us to learn from.
“We hold regular open days and have many volunteering opportunities for people to visit the home and get to know the residents, hear their stories first-hand and see for themselves the astonishing, interesting and even frightening situations many of our residents have been in as a result of their lives at sea.”
The nursing home, which last year celebrated its 150th anniversary, 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.
Older People’s Day, organised by Age Action Alliance, is a national and international celebration of the achievements and contributions that older people make to the UK’s society and economy.