TUNBRIDGE WELLS MP Greg Clark opened new garden features at Rusthall Lodge at a summer party to mark the independent care home’s 50th birthday.
The celebrations featured a large party for staff, residents, their families and members of the community, including a cream tea in the refurbished grounds.
The town’s Deputy Mayor and Mayoress, James and Jane Scholes, were among the special guests who helped to mark Rusthall Lodge’s half-century.
The house was converted from the private residence of Margaret Fremlin, from the Kentish brewing company, into a care home run on a charitable ethos.
Music was provided by an old-fashioned Bursens Street Organ and there were several vintage cars on display.
‘I was delighted to be invited to formally open the new garden feature at Rusthall Lodge Care Home to mark its 50th anniversary,’ said Mr Clark.
‘It looked absolutely beautiful, and I am sure will be enjoyed by many of the home’s residents over the next 50 years.’
Facilities and Marketing Manager Bill Blackford said: ‘We have always played a role in supporting our local community and also in welcoming them into our lovely grounds and home, so we made our summer party open to all.’
The works were carried out by Crowborough-based Ransome Garden Designs.
‘The gardens have always been a key attraction for our residents and their visitors, so we thought we would make them even better as part of our golden anniversary celebrations,’ said Rusthall Lodge’s General Manager, Hilary Taylor.
‘We’ve installed a new patio to make the most of the natural suntrap, and new pathways to connect this to the existing patios to make it easier for the residents to walk around the gardens on a level surface.’
Central to the new design is a specially commissioned sundial created by award-winning garden ornaments designers Chilstone, based in Fordcombe.
Steve Clark of Chilstone commented: ‘My wife’s grandmother was a resident at Rusthall Lodge Care Home in the 1980s, so we were delighted to be able to provide the centrepiece for the new garden features.
‘There is also a lovely tie-in as Chilstone is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year, so it was great to be able to mark a significant milestone of another well-known local organisation.’
Staff are arranging a series of ‘Golden Moments’ for residents during the year and would like to hear from local companies or individuals who can help create a memorable experience.
These have included a first drumming lesson for resident Vera Lawson, after a wait of more than 90 years because her parents thought drums were too loud.
Former engineer Nick Parker was also presented with a signed photograph from Royal Air Force display team the Red Arrows, on the day of the RAF’s 100th anniversary.
PICTURE: SLICE OF LIFE: (L-R) Greg Clark with Trustee Ann Hughes and General Manager Hilary Taylor