Alan, 86, says farewell to care home after volunteering every day for two years

Alan Tweedy, aged 86, has finally said farewell to Barrowhill Hall care and nursing home in Rocester after volunteering there every day for almost two years following the passing of his wife.

The former miner from Upper Tean described his daily visits to Barrowhill Hall as a ‘godsend’ after his wife Jean’s dementia became too advanced for him to care for her at home.

Jean lived at Barrowhill Hall, which specialises in dementia care, for almost a year.

When she passed away in January 2015 Alan continued his daily visits, helping residents with meal times and staying into the afternoon to chat.

“Being able to come here every day has been a godsend for me,” said Alan.  We were married for 61 years and I just couldn’t face being at home without her.

“It’s been lovely to spend time with the residents and the staff have been so welcoming.  Unfortunately Jean couldn’t appreciate what a wonderful place this is.  But as a family we knew how well she was cared for.”

Barrowhill Hall staff made a special effort to ensure Alan knew how much his time with them was valued with a farewell presentation of chocolates, flowers and a personal note of thanks.

Home manager, Martin Rogerson, said: “Alan has been an amazing volunteer here.  We’ve been delighted to see him every day and the residents have enjoyed his company.

“As a care home, we’ve benefited enormously from his support and we are so happy to know it’s been helpful to him to be able to come here after Jean passed away.

“It’s given Alan a purpose and a sense of comfort. We’ll miss him very much.”

Alan first met Jean in Northumberland in the 1950s when he was working as a painter and decorator.

“I was doing a job on a council house and when I opened the window to get some fresh air I could see poor Jean who was actually ill in bed in the house next door with pleurisy,” remembered Alan.

Over the course of the job, the pair got talking, later dated and then married in 1955.

They moved to Staffordshire when Alan got a job at Florence Colliery in Stoke on Trent.  He worked as a miner until he retired, while Jean brought up their three children.

“Sadly we lost our son at the age of 48 but my daughters live nearby,” said Alan.  “When Jean developed dementia about five years ago they moved back closer to home so they could visit her every Friday.”

Barrowhill Hall is an award-winning dementia care and nursing home in Rocester that has stunning views across the Churnet Valley.

It recently built a second household in its grounds, Churnet Lodge, which offers residential dementia care.  Churnet Lodge will be officially opened on Thursday 17th November by antiques expert, Charles Hanson, star of BBC’s Bargain Hunt, and tickets are available from Barrowhill Hall now.

“I hope to come back for the celebration at Churnet Lodge,” said Alan.  “It’s a beautiful place to be and it’s nice to know I’ll always be welcome.”

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