Fulfilled living in later life

Friday 5th March 2021

Margaret's story

Margaret, 94, has lived in our Framland home in Wantage since February 2019. Her son Gareth explains why she is so happy to live here

Pilgrims Friend Margaret

Every Wednesday before lockdown, Gareth and Valerie Smith would collect his mother Margaret from Framland for a visit to their home in Grove, Wantage. But they would be surprised when, after a couple of hours, Margaret would start looking at her watch, making comments such as not wanting to miss afternoon tea. “I think it was just that she was keen to go back,” he says, “It’s clear that that’s where she feels very comfortable.”

It was in 2018 that Margaret asked Gareth and Valerie to look for a suitable care home for her near them in Oxford. Her memory had been deteriorating for some time and she knew that a good care home would be a wise choice for her now. At the time she was living in Coity, a small village near Bridgend, South Wales.

She moved into Framland in February 2019. Coity was a mainly Welsh speaking community when Margaret was born. Growing up, St Mary’s became an important part of her life. Her favourite hymn is ‘Lead us heavenly Father lead us’. In 1950 Margaret married electrical engineer John (known as Jack) Smith. He was known as “a lovely man” Margaret says, and a talented tenor who sang in major male voice choirs. They had two sons, Gareth, and Philip.

When the children were older she worked in accounting for the local Gas Board. In 1960 the family moved to Pinner, London, where they lived for 25 years. Jack sang with established choirs, including the Harrow Choral and Hammersmith Welsh Male Voice Choirs. He also became Head of Electrical Services for the BBC. After he retired they moved back to Coity. “Home always meant Coity to Mum,” says Gareth.

Margaret is very happy at Framland, saying in every other sentence that the carers are wonderful, and go to so much trouble for residents. “We can be very awkward,” she says with a smile, “But they are always lovely.” And she finds the home very comfortable.

“There’s a strong sense of home and community about Framland,” says Gareth, “And the Hummingbirds are critical: they make sure that everything is okay.”

Find out more about our Hummingbirds here.