New Forest care home residents rekindled wartime memories during an afternoon garden party in honour of the armed forces.
Colten Care’s Woodpeckers in Brockenhurst welcomed veterans, military enthusiasts and members of the Lymington Royal British Legion for the special event.
Several visitors came dressed in uniform with medals while an RAF jeep and other military equipment and memorabilia were brought along for residents to see first-hand.
It was an opportunity for those with service connections and memories of the Second World War to share their experiences.
Maureen Miller, 97, spoke about being a Land Girl in Wales for two years.
Observing that one of the visitors was wearing a Land Army uniform, Maureen said: “I was delighted to see a Land Girl again. I haven’t seen that uniform since I was in my 20s, which was many years ago now.”
Resident Diana Creasey, who celebrated her 100th birthday earlier this year, was presented with a book about military history by veteran Andrew Turley on behalf of The Imaginarium Bookshop in Lymington.
In conversation with Andrew’s wife Tracey Turley, a Senior Nurse, Diana said: “I remember when I was a nurse working in an underground basement hospital with pregnant women on one side of the ward and casualties on the other side. It was a very stressful time.”
Roger Johnson shared a story of how his teacher in school had a jar of dolly mixtures, and when the class was to shelter due to the air raids the teacher would take the jar of sweets to the Anderson Shelter and hand one out to each child.
June Farrow said: “I had a wonderful conversation with a gentleman who was in the Tank Regiment. It reminded me of my husband, who was also from the Tank Regiment. It brought back a lot of happy memories of talking to him. It was a fantastic afternoon”.
Shirley Jolliffe said: “I thought it was a very interesting afternoon. The veterans spent a great deal of time talking to us and explaining what their medals represented.”
Other residents attending included Frank Coombes, who served in the Royal Navy, and John Denby, who was in the armed forces for two years before spending 25 years in the Metropolitan Police.
Guests also included representatives of St Nicholas Church in Brockenhurst and residents from fellow Colten Care home Kingfishers in New Milton.
The event was hosted by Woodpeckers Companionship Team Leader Jane Bunker and team member Sian Harris.
Sian said: “Our residents enjoyed the afternoon, chatting to our guests and sharing stories and memories from a time still vivid in their minds.
“We have now been invited to help knit some of the 20,000 poppies required for a display being unveiled by the Lymington Royal British Legion at the end of October ahead of Remembrance.”