A HOME FIT FOR A PRINCESS | Darrin Henry
Ten years ago today, on 6 September, 2008, a brand new elderly care home on St Helena, ‘Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal Community Care Centre,’ at Ladder Hill was officially opened.
The oldest living person on St Helena at that time, Mrs Hilda Clingham, (98), cut the ribbon to the building locals now simply call, the CCC. Asked her thoughts about the CCC after going inside, Hilda replied: “Lovely. Lovely. Can’t be better, everything is wonderful.”
A Care Home Six Years In The Making
The opening ceremony a decade ago saw children from Pilling Primary and St Paul’s Primary schools singing songs, official speeches, Bishop James Johnson blessing the building and Governor Andrew Gurr unveiling a commemorative plaque. The Gettogethers Orchestra and the Ladies Orchestra took turns to play music and there was a vocal performance by the Palm Villa Singers.
On opening day senior citizens from other care home venues were invited to tour the new building at Ladder Hill, along with family, friends and other distinguished guests.
The beautiful décor inside drew gasps of admiration from everyone.
“Absolutely wonderful, I can’t get over it,” said one impressed visitor, “it’s like a 5-star hotel.”
“Posh, posh,” another commented.
The opening of the CCC marked the completion of a six-year project. It began when Princess Anne, during a two and half day visit in 2002 for St Helena’s Quincentenary celebrations, unveiled the building’s foundation stone.
The Best Thing About The CCC, Is…
Chief Admin Health & Social Services Officer, Ivy Ellick, gave background to the project in her speech. Before the CCC, elderly care was delivered across three different locations – Sundale, The Haven and the elderly care unit at the St Helena hospital. The new building with its 44 beds, was designed to bring that care effort under one roof.
Head of the Community Care Centre, Ian Rummery, outlined at the time some of the upgraded features the new facility provided. These included privacy for residents who would each have their own room, unlike the dormitory style accommodation at the Haven. The new dementia block provided a much safer environment for residents and staff.
But, Ian revealed, the most welcome improvement from the care staff perspective, was the bathrooms, which being purpose-built were now bigger, safer and more hygienic.
“Staff are very excited,” about going to work at the CCC, said Ian.
Pink and White Balloons
The interior design of the CCC was the work of JJ Smith, (now JJ Dancoisne-Martineau).
Johnny Isaac Construction was responsible for the actual build of the care home.
Moving-in day was Monday 29 September, 2008, three weeks after the opening ceremony.
Pink and white balloons fluttered from the buses which transported residents to their plush new home at top of Ladder Hill.
The very first resident through the door was Kate Hudson.
So, there we go. Another little snippet of St Helena history from modern times.
As the CCC celebrates 10 years today since Governor Gurr and Hilda Clingham officially declared it open, we’ve taken a delve into our archives. Back then we produced a film about the opening ceremony and of course, we were taking pictures. Here are some of our images of the St Helena care home when it was brand new!