Award-winning care home, Belvedere House of the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, is marking the most romantic time of the year with a tale of true romance from two of its Naval sweetheart residents.
The maritime care home in Banstead, Surrey, offers specialist facilities to allow married residents to continue to live together whilst receiving the best possible care. Two of their newest residents, Trevor Kirby OBE and Isabelle Kirby, who will have been married 70 years this year, moved into the Home in September 2020, just before the Autumn lockdown.
Trevor, who joined the Royal Navy at aged 16 rising to the rank of Commander, and Isabelle, a Naval Nurse and then Welfare Officer, met at RNAS Culdrose, a Royal Navy airbase near Helston in Cornwall, in 1950.
Their relationship reads like a romantic novel; after courting for a short time, Trevor went to sea for six months before returning via Gibraltar, where he bought an engagement ring, which he smuggled back to the UK so he could marry Isabelle at short notice. After a quick weekend honeymoon, the Kirbys were back at work on the Monday and didn’t see each other for a fortnight, when Trevor managed to borrow a Seafire aircraft to fly down to see Isabelle, before borrowing a car and taking a ferry to see his new wife.
After many years living apart and seeing each other only at weekends, they went on to have two daughters and a son and spent many happy years together before deciding to consider additional care needs. They moved into the Royal Alfred’s Weston Acres estate late last year, with adjoining rooms allowing them to stay together and see each other every day, with care and nursing support when needed.
Mr Kirby said: “The care here at the Royal Alfred is second to none, everyone is so helpful and bend over backwards to help us. It is interesting to be able to live with people who have a similar background to us and can share their experiences of life at sea. Living together has given us the time to relax as a couple and spend quality time together and we feel much better for it.”
When asked their secret to a long marriage, Trevor said separate bathrooms and Isabelle said lots of time at sea!
Chief Executive of the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt, said: “At the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, we have built a strong community of former seafarers and their dependents, who offer support and companionship to one another through their many shared experiences. But we also know just how important it is to be able to ensure couples who have spent their lives together are able to continue to share accommodation and care after building a lifetime of memories and experiences.”