Maritime care home celebrates good care week with special visit from Born Free founder


National maritime charity the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society welcomed actress and Born Free founder, Virginia McKenna, to its Banstead-based nursing care home, Belvedere House, as part of its Carers Week celebrations.

British stage and screen actress Virginia McKenna, who is best known for her role in ‘Born Free’ and her work as a big cat conservationist, met with residents at Belvedere House to swap stories of the stage and screen for tales from the sea.

Virginia was given a tour of the care home’s impressive facilities and spoke to many of Royal Alfred’s residents, tenants and staff members to learn more about the care the Society provides to former seafarers, their widows and dependants and the individual stories of those who live and work at Weston Acres.

She is well known to many former seafarers for her film role as a Women’s Royal Naval Service Officer in the famous film ‘The Cruel Sea’, telling the story of a wartime destroyer in the Battle of the Atlantic. In one of her more recent roles, Virginia played an elderly stroke victim in independent short film ‘What Do You See?’, illustrating the need for more compassion and care in the treatment of elderly people.

Her visit to the Royal Alfred care home coincided with Carers Week, an annual awareness campaign which highlights the challenges carers face and recognises the significant contribution they make to people’s lives throughout the UK.

Chief Executive of the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt, said: “It was a delight to meet Virginia McKenna and welcome her to our home. The residents recently watched ‘Born Free’ at one of our afternoon screenings so were very keen to meet Virginia in person. We are always looking to get interesting people in to talk to them as they really enjoy learning about different topics so thoroughly enjoyed Virginia’s tales from her work as an actress and conservationist.

“Virginia was very keen to learn more about the care we deliver at Royal Alfred and her visit was a great way for us to commemorate Carers Week. At Royal Alfred we are committed to provide the highest standard of care and this is only possible if we have the best staff. The care team work incredibly hard to ensure the happiness and safety of our residents so Virginia’s visit was a nice way to say thank you to all the staff for their hard work.”


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