With Father’s Day just around the corner, many Dad’s deserve to put their feet up and perhaps be spoilt a little by their families. Father’s Day may also be a good opportunity to find out things about our fathers that we didn’t already know. Even the tiniest piece of information - which may be considered unimportant to them - could give us a sense of provenance so why not learn something new about your Dad?
Father, grandfather and great-grandfather Jack Cope, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday, certainly has a good tale to tell. He has lead an action packed life and is now enjoying slowing down a bit. Born in Nuneaton, not far from where he now lives at Richmond Village, he has travelled far afield and has many amazing stories. His Military and Dunkirk medals, of which he is justly proud, are a clue to his exciting past.
Jack was 20 when war broke out in 1939 and immediately volunteered for the army, becoming an ammunitions despatch rider for the 145 Light Infantry Brigade. Whilst fighting rearguard action as the British troops evacuated Dunkirk, he was captured and became a Prisoner of War (POW), although he was considered as missing, presumably killed as so many young soldiers were.
During the next five years, Jack led a very active existence in various POW camps, wisely learning German along the way which paid dividends later on. He escaped on many occasions and discovered that his brother had been captured in Italy. Jack was determined to find his brother and escaped again to try and track him down. He remained free long enough to travel across Germany to the area where his brother was being held, and gave himself up; his plan to end up imprisoned in the same POW camp as his brother had succeeded. But his days of escaping weren’t over and he escaped once more along with his brother and two other pals. They ended up joining an American unit across the Rhine and managed to hitch a lift back to the UK, amazing everyone on their return that they were still alive.
Returning to his wife, whom he had married just three days before he left for the army, they went on to have three daughters during the next ten years; Lorraine, Jeanne and Bernice. Meanwhile, Jack set up a successful metal electroplating company in Nuneaton, boasting Rolls Royce as one of his clients.
Retiring in 1978, Jack and his wife moved to the Costa Blanca. Sadly his marriage ended in divorce and Jack remained in Spain. Some time afterwards he met Doreen, a widow from Yorkshire, fell in love and got married. They enjoyed 12 years of happy marriage before sadly, Doreen died. Jack stayed in Spain for a while on his own and then decided to return home. His youngest daughter, Bernice, lives in Australia but Lorraine and Jeanne live locally.
Jack commented: “I used to love the Spanish sun, the orange groves and the views. Funnily enough, I don’t miss them any more. This is where I belong now, and it’s nice to be near my family again.”
Lorraine knows that she will find Jack to be a very happy man on Father’s Day, but this hasn’t always been the case. She started to worry about him after his wife passed away as he lived alone in a bungalow in a cul de sac, and relied on family visits for company. Although Jack showed few signs of getting old, the loneliness was a worry for Lorraine and Jeanne, especially if they wanted to go on holiday. Lorraine felt that a nursing home was not the right move for Jack as he was still very fit and well. She was looking for a place where he could live independently but still have support and company if he needed it.
By chance, she found out about Assisted Living apartments which are part of Richmond Villages’ retirement village in Bedworth. “When I first saw the apartments, I was bowled over. I took Dad to see them, not sure what his reaction would be, and he instantly wanted to move there!” Lorraine remarked. “Dad was living in a bungalow on his own and was lonely. Moving to his Assisted Living apartment has definitely given him a new lease of life. It also means that if I go away, I know that he has company if he wants it, and all his chores are taken care of,” she added.
Jack has been living in his Assisted Living apartment at Richmond Coventry for two years. Lorraine loves the fact that he has his own space and can choose whether to join in activities or not. She has the peace of mind knowing that he is eating sensibly and that someone pops in every day. He once had a fall on the driveway outside and Lorraine is full of praise for the excellent response from staff he received. Thankfully, nothing was seriously wrong but it reminded her that he was definitely living in the best place.
Jack has breakfast in his own apartment, lunch in the restaurant and his supper is usually delivered to him. If he wants to, he can make his own meals using his kitchenette. Jack says there is always someone about if he fancies a coffee or glass of wine, but he also enjoys the peace of his own home. “I feel extremely lucky living here and very well looked after. I am extremely comfortable and 100% happy.”
Assisted Living is a concept that bridges the gap between independent living and full time care. It means that a person or couple can enjoy the ideal combination of having their own front door without the worry of preparing meals and doing the daily chores. Retirement village pioneer, Richmond Villages, has been providing Assisted Living for over a decade.
Whilst enjoying the privacy of your own apartment (with bedroom, bathroom, sitting room and kitchenette), Assisted Living is also a philosophy of care and support that promotes independence, dignity and well being. By providing supervision or assistance with daily living, people who are finding it difficult to live independently but do not need the 24 hour care provided by a nursing home, are able to enjoy prolonged independence in a safe, caring, socially active and supportive environment.
Life at a Richmond Village provides residents with endless opportunities to socialise with like minded people and to take part in the many activities organised daily. Facilities include a restaurant, library, a vehicle with full time driver and in some villages a bowling green, swimming pool and spa.
Richmond Villages has villages in Northampton, Painswick (Gloucestershire), Nantwich (Cheshire) and Coventry, with a new village opening later this year at Letcombe Regis near Wantage (South Oxfordshire).