Flypast honours Birch Green’s Archie

A spectacular and emotional tribute to a former airman now living at Birch Green recently saw the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight pass over the Skelmersdale care home.

The memorial flight, including a Lancaster Bomber, Spitfire and Hurricane, passed over Birch Green four times to honour resident Archie Johnstone on his 98th birthday.

Archie is the oldest surviving member of RAF Bomber Command, and served in the Second World War as a navigator and bomb aimer in a Lancaster aircraft.

The surprise was organised by Archie’s son, Robert Johnstone, and took place as the memorial flight made its way to the Southport Air Show earlier this month. The pilots even diverted the aircraft as a special tribute.

Robert said: “Dad was in tears and at a loss for words after the plane flew over the home. But he did say it was wonderful to have the historic plane fly overhead on his birthday.

“He had a party on the day, and a lot of people who attended the event were overwhelmed as well.”

Earlier in the year, the Queen unveiled a memorial in London honouring those who died serving in Bomber Command during the Second World War.

Right Royal knees up

Residents at Skelmersdale care home Birch Green got into the spirit of the occasion when celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee.

Staff dressed in red, white and blue colours and a Jubilee party was in full swing on the home’s general unit. Singer John Hanlon entertained the residents while a glass or two of good cheer helped wash down the royal-themed cakes.

A surprise visit from Birch Green’s own ‘Lizzy and Phil’ prompted plenty of laughs, and the royal couple went on to judge a crown competition, with residents designing their own headgear.

Karen House, resident lifestyle support team leader, said: “The Jubilee meant a lot to many of our residents, and I’m delighted they could all celebrate in style. Everyone joined in with the fun, and it was a great day for residents and staff alike.”

Remembrance garden opens at Birch Green

Skelmersdale care home Birch Green has unveiled a colourful new Rose Garden of Remembrance.

The purpose built care home, which provides high quality nursing and residential care for 74 older people, has established the rose garden to provide a comforting area for people to use to remember their loved ones.

Ken Nolan, chairman of Springhill Care Group, operator of the home, was on hand to cut the ribbon and officially open the facility, joined by Birch Green general manager Catherine Shawarby, residents, and Ron Stoneley and Eric Newall whose late wives were both residents at the home.

The garden has been opened to coincide with Dying Matters Awareness Week, an annual event run by the Dying Matters Coalition, a group dedicated to promoting public awareness of death and bereavement. Staff at Birch Green are promoting the concept of ‘Living Well’ and breaking the taboos about talking about end of life issues.

General manager Catherine Shawarby said: “The garden is designed to allow people to walk around, sit in quiet contemplation, or sit and chat with friends.

“We designed it to be an enjoyable place to while away the hours, or simply to pass through.

There is also room for people to place a rose to remember a loved one, a small memorial, or even a butterfly to join our collection on the wall.”

Maritime museum visit for Birch Green residents

A group of residents from Skelmersdale’s Birch Green Care Home went back to their roots recently with a visit to Liverpool.

The group of eight, all of whom were from Liverpool before taking up residence in Birch Green, took in sights including the iconic Liver Building on their way to the Albert Dock where they spent time touring the Maritime Museum.

The visitors enjoyed exhibitions including a special display of the Titanic and its connections to the city, and trying on costumes relating to the period in history.

Karen House, activities coordinator at Birch Green, said: “Everyone had a great time, and were happily reminiscing about their time growing up in Liverpool.

“Two of our residents had spent time in the Merchant Navy when they were younger, and the docks brought back memories of ships coming and going. Another had fond memories of meeting his father, a worker on the docks, after a day’s shift had finished.

“Liverpool is a great destination and the visit was truly worthwhile, with plenty of smiling faces and stories being told during the day out.”



Horse whispering!

A Lancashire care home rang to the sound of horse’s hooves recently thanks to a special visit.

Birch Green Care Home in Skelmersdale had arranged for a visit by miniature horses Indiana and Jenson, just 34 inches tall.

Residents with past equine experience and connections were invited to interact with the animals first including Bill Wright, a former horse owner who fed them carrots before recalling some of his experiences.

Resident Barbara Roberts, who has a share in a race horse, joked that the tiny animals would be too small to win many races!

The visit had been organised by staff member Christine Bullen through friend Steve Lafferty, the owner of the horses.

Residents inside and outside the home got the chance to meet the horses as they were led inside to the television lounge, and staff and family members got in on the act to get to know them.Christine Bullen said: "Being around these lovely animals who were so well behaved was of real therapeutic benefit for the residents and we’ve had some great responses to the activity.”


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Contact: Acting General Manager - Victoria Sudworth

Birch Green Care Home
Ivydale, Birch Green
Skelmersdale, Lancashire WN8 6RS

Tel: 01695 50916
Fax: 01695 51301
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Call Us: 01695 50916


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