Harleston House care home in Lowestoft brought festive season early for two if its residents by making their wishes come true as part of the home’s “Dreams Come True” project, which aims to fulfil the wishes of its residents.
Marcella Bird, aged 83, ran a fish and chip shop in Lowestoft with her husband for 40 years until both retired. Food has always been her passion and from early school years she wanted to be a cook or a chef. However, her father who was a fishermen got her to become a braider at the Lowestoft docks instead where she made the nets for the fishing boats.
Marcella had a few other jobs but after she married Stanley Bird they decided to buy a fish and chips shop Birds, now called Mr Chips, on Stradbroke Road, Lowestoft. She was excited about being her own boss and made her father happy about having a profession linked to a fishing industry.
Marcella is well known in the community, as many people remember her running the fish and chip shop as well as working as a volunteer for the WRVS at the local hospital in her later years.
When asked what would make her happy, she replied without hesitation: “Back serving my old customers in the chip shop”. She was very happy when her wish came true and she worked for one day in her old fish and chip shop, serving customers and having a friendly banter with staff and customers. The experience brought a lasting happy memory and Marcella still talks about this special day.
Marcella commented: “I thoroughly enjoyed going back to my fish and chip shop and had a great time. It was lovely to see my old customers and to catch up with them. I feel that I want to work again, the prices have changed since my day but the quality is still good. People who run the shop now are very nice and they treated me with kindness”.
Doreen Doyle, aged 79, moved to Lowestoft from Essex with her husband and two children. Doreen loved to drive in her earlier years and would gladly give lifts to anybody that needed a ride.
When asked what wish she would like to fulfil, Doreen commented that she longed to get behind a wheel again. When she found out that Harleston House was running ‘Dreams Come True’ project and she could have a driving experience, Doreen became thrilled at the thought of driving a car again.
A driving instructor from Pro-drive was on hand to ensure of her safety and Doreen completed an hour of driving off road giving her an opportunity to reverse park, reverse around a corner, emergency stop and dodge in and out of the cones.
Doreen said of her experience: “I found driving lovely, I have not driven for years and did not think I would ever drive again. The car I drove was nice and the day brought back some fond memories”.
Both stories show that it’s not too late to try something new or experience something that brings a lasting memory.