Tales from the home

At Royal Alfred we like to think we are more than just residents, tenants and staff. We are a family. All of those who stay with us have their own unique story and they could tell you a tale or two about their seafaring days. Below are just a few of the people who make Royal Alfred the community it is.

Robert BallTenant at Weston Acres

“I was born into a large family of fishermen, builders and undertakers in Bexhill-on-Sea and spent my formative years on our family’s luggers, trawling and long-lining along the south-east coast. At the outbreak of World War Two I began a six month deck training course in Norfolk at the Prince of Wales Sea Training School. I left the school aged 15 and signed on to my first ship, the SS Cortona. During the war I served on a variety of cargo and troopships, eventually helping to move men and transport equipment during the liberation of France in 1944.

“In March 2016, I was honoured to be awarded the Legion of Honour medal at the French Embassy for taking part in the D-Day landings. I left the Merchant Navy three years after the war ended and joined the family construction company where I studied to become a civil engineer and quantity surveyor. After qualifying I lived and worked abroad in West Africa and the West Indies with my wife Ilse. We retired and returned to Bexhill-on-Sea where we took up sailing together. Sadly my dear wife passed away in 2006.

“I heard about the Royal Alfred through the Merchant Navy Association and after visiting the Weston Acres estate, moved into my flat in December. I do not think I could have found a better place to spend the rest of my life. I love my flat and the view across the lawns makes me feel like I still have a garden of my own.

“Everyone has been so welcoming and the staff are very caring but ensure we are still able to retain our independence. The other residents have such varied seafaring backgrounds and I feel very privileged to be surrounded by so many like-minded companions.”

“I feel very privileged to be surrounded by so many like-minded companions”

Kathy BoothResident at Belvedere House

“I worked in the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRENS) as a steward until 1954 when I got married; at that time you couldn’t be in the WRENS as a married woman. When I left the WRENS I trained to become a nurse and worked in the NHS until I was 60. My husband was in the Royal Navy, which meant I got to travel. We went to the Far East, including Hong Kong and Singapore, to name a couple, and I absolutely loved the experience. I met some wonderful and interesting people and I’ve had a very busy life. We had lots of fun and that’s what life is all about, isn’t it?

“After leaving the NHS I continued nursing elsewhere and didn’t retire until I was 76. I moved to Royal Alfred after developing problems with my eyesight. I’ve been here for nearly five years now and I’m extremely happy here – the team at the Royal Alfred work very hard to please us! They do an awful lot in terms of activities and try to give you a spice of life. The Home not only caters for active people like me; they also cater for people living with dementia, which is wonderful.

“The staff here are extremely caring, kind and helpful and they give you as much independence as possible, which is perfect for me. It’s also a very secure place; although I wander around on my own a lot, the carers know exactly what I’m doing and where I am, which enables me to enjoy my time in peace. I’m delighted I came here.”

“The staff here are extremely caring, kind and helpful”

Tom MorrisTenant at Weston Acres

“I spent nine years training as a carpenter in the Royal Air Force before I began my naval career. While I was in the RAF I saw an advert for the Merchant Navy and the travelling aspect of the job really appealed to me. I applied and spent the following 15 years working in the engine rooms.

“When my wife Ann needed a nursing home, we wanted to be close to our family in Surrey so looked online for a suitable location. Royal Alfred really stood out to us and it was a great fit because of my background in the Merchant Navy and it was a wonderful home to us both until Ann passed away.

“I have been a tenant with Royal Alfred since September 2013 and love my flat. The view I have across the site is wonderful. It feels like I live in my own private park.

“My daughters are very helpful and hands-on and I’m very pleased to be close by them. Walter, my brother, is also a resident at the Home so I spend a lot of time with him, as well as enjoying the grounds of Weston Acres, my favourite place to sit and reflect.”

“I love my flat and the view…It feels like my own private park”