This week, long-term Livability supporter John Stillitz has been reliving his first meeting with royalty – HRH The Princess Royal, at Livability Brookside House in North London. John was one of a number of supporters who met Her Royal Highness, Livability’s Patron, at last Wednesday’s afternoon reception, along with Brookside’s 22 residents.
Retired businessman John has been part of Livability Brookside House’s wider community since the early 1990s, initially through a social club for disabled people that he ran with other members of the local Rotary Club. John, who has multiple sclerosis, is a regular visitor and friend of residents and staff at Brookside, along with his Rotary colleague Melvyn. He shares his experience of the day:
It was an incredible day when Her Royal Highness came to Livability Brookside House. Like everyone there I felt privileged to be involved and to actually meet, talk to and shake HRH’s hand. Well, Her Royal Highness did make the first move!
The honour of welcoming Her Royal Highness was a richly deserved accolade to every one of the most amazing team that help, support, encourage and, with chef Dee’s help, feed the residents of Livability Brookside House – with care and always with a smile.
Through the local Edgware & Stanmore Rotary Club, fellow Rotarians Mike Turner, Melvyn Rolnick and I have enjoyed, with others, a rare association with this most sensational care home. Over the years the most magical residents have become our very close friends.
I ask myself, why do I love coming to Brookside House?…
Could it be the always-welcome telephone call I get from Janice [resident] asking when she’ll see me again, or when Peter [resident] laughs as he says “What are you doing here?” and the wonderful David [resident] calling out: ‘Oh no, not you again!’ Perhaps it’s spending time with resident Lynn, as I continue to try to understand how she nearly always ends up with one single peg in the middle of her solitaire game. Without exception, everyone at Livability Brookside House is really amazing and I adore them all.
I was lucky enough to meet HRH The Princess Royal, alongside long-term resident Phillip. The more Phillip talked about the care home’s history, the more questions Princess Anne asked, and Phillip had all the answers. She was really fascinated to hear all the stories Phillip had to tell. HRH moved along to greet resident Jillian who told her about her new scooter and how it had made her life so much more comfortable and had given her so much more independence. With fundraising with our Rotary Club and support from many friends and family, it was with great excitement that Jillian acquired this rather special do-all scooter which was only possible after an amazing team effort.
When I returned to the main lounge, HRH The Princess Royal was being introduced to all the amazing residents, carers, managers and wonderful staff. Everyone in the room was excited and involved. She spent a couple of minutes talking to each resident, making sure that this was an occasion to remember – when HRH The Princess Royal came to tea. As our guest of honour left the room, the place erupted with a spontaneous and thunderous round of applause, leaving the final word to our dear, Jane who called out ‘BYEEEE!’
A few thank yous
I’d like to thank the staff at Livability Brookside House, for letting me be so involved with your wonderful care home, your fabulous team and the sensational residents. Also many thanks to, Her Royal Highness on behalf of everyone at Livability Brookside House for making the day an occasion to remember for a very long time.