Disability Undressed: Firemen, cats and meeting Leonard Cheshire

14 September 2017

Sally and AnnSally Phillips and Ann Burden go way back, having moved together from a residential home in the north (where they lived in shared rooms) to another in Dorset.

Sharing their memories of life at The Grange over four decades, the pair talk about firemen, cats and meeting Leonard Cheshire. 

The big move

Sally and Ann moved into The Grange residential home in Poole on the same day in October 1971. 

The duo had been at the same residential home in Warrington, both miles away from their families, for two years. 

Both Sally and Ann couldn’t wait to move back to their old stomping ground in Dorset. When they heard about an opening at The Grange in Poole, the two friends jumped at the chance to move back down to their local area.

Sally vividly remembers moving into her new home with Ann:

‘We were both coming down from the same place and we helped each other settle in.  

‘I was 21 at the time. When we moved in, a new wing of the home was being built around us. I guess you could say we were part of the furniture almost straight away.’

A room of their own

The new wing at The Grange meant Sally and Ann could have their own rooms — and a bit of privacy and personal space — for the first time.

Today this would be the norm. At the time, it was a major step forward and not very common elsewhere, as Sally recalls.

‘I remember back then we were very excited to have our own rooms. It’s funny to think of that now. You just didn’t get that in our last place.’

Reflecting on her long tenure at The Grange, Ann adds:

‘I’ve seen a lot of changes since then and I like the way we are now. I’m very happy here. I have my own space and I can do what I want.’

Wedding bells

Sally got married in 1993. Her husband, Bob, moved in to live with her at The Grange. He sadly passed away a few years ago. Sally smiles as she shows us a photo and looks back on their wedding day.

‘It was such a wonderful day. We got married in the local church. It had started to rain but the sun came out in time for our wedding. We had a fantastic wedding reception here at The Grange too.’

Memorable moments

Both ladies met our charity’s founder, Leonard Cheshire, several times. Sally has fond memories of his unexpected visits.

‘We never knew when he was coming. He would just turn up and pop in. It was a fantastic surprise each time. ’

Ann recalls the impression Leonard Cheshire made on her and all residents at The Grange. 

‘I remember he was a very kind man. He spent lots of time with everyone.’

Sally recalls another unexpected event from the early years.

‘I remember going to an event at a local school for girls — Parkstone Grammar School.

‘We went there to watch a school play. The lift broke down, and obviously this was a bit of a problem.

‘Then some firemen came to lift us down the stairs. It didn’t seem so much of a problem any more!‘

Out and about

Both women like to go out in the local area. Ann loves going shopping. She sometimes joins other residents watching the local football team, AFC Bournemouth. Sally tells us she relishes the chance to take a trip whenever she can.

‘I love getting out and about. I can get on the buses on my own here, and see a few people I know in a café, or maybe have a meal in a pub.’

At this point Ann’s seven-year-old ginger cat, Misty, decides we have been talking long enough. Ann smiles, knowing why he has chosen this moment to announce his presence. 

‘Misty is always with me. He likes to sit on my lap and get some attention. Right now, he’s probably wants me to ask someone to feed him.’

Disability Undressed is a series of stories featuring the people who use our services. To keep up to date with all our latest news, campaigns and events, sign up to our newsletters.

Add new comment