Surrey maritime charity welcomes Royal Patron

Banstead-based maritime charity The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society welcomed its Royal Patron HRH Princess Anne to meet staff, residents and tenants at the Society’s Belvedere House care home and see first-hand the Home’s latest modernisation plan.

The Surrey-based care home operator and charity has provided housing, residential and nursing care to former seafarers, their widows and dependants since 1865 and is incorporated under Royal Charter with HRH The Princess Royal as its patron.

After a trying year for staff and residents due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Home is now looking to the future by undergoing a programme of modernisation including creating en-suite wet rooms for residents, enlarging bedrooms and building a new lounge for the Home.

HRH The Princess Royal viewed the new rooms, surveyed the architecture plans and spent quality time with staff members, residents, and tenants for the first time in-person since the Covid-19 pandemic; including tenant of five years Anne Macleod-Carey. Anne is a former WRNS visual signaller (1943 – 1945) and MN Union Castle 3rd Officer who joined the WRNS at the age of 17 in the midst of the Second World War. She now lives at the Society’s Weston Acres sheltered housing facility.

On meeting HRH, Anne said: “After a difficult and quite sombre year for all, it was fantastic to have everyone come together to welcome the Society’s wonderful Patron, HRH The Princess Royal – a definite highlight of my time here at Weston Acres. I have such a passion for the sea and, as Chief Commandant of Women in the Royal Navy, The Princess Royal is inspiring to us all – it’s fantastic for the Society to have such a knowledgeable Patron who always takes the time to have meaningful conversations with us.”

Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt, CEO at The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, said: “We were honoured to be able to host our Patron HRH The Princess Royal at the Home once again and show how we are looking to the future and continuing to invest to make the Society a place to support and provide for former seafarers and their dependents for many years to come.

“It has been a difficult year for everyone, especially those who work in the care sector, and the family and friends of residents who have given up so much to keep their loved ones safe. In line with national guidelines and to maintain the strict standards of safety in the Home, it was wonderful to be able to host a small event and celebrate the hard work of all the team at the Society.

“I would like to thank HRH The Princess Royal for her patronage and continuing support of the Society, and all our staff who continue to offer the very best care for the residents who call Belvedere House home.”

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