Month: October 2016

Guest Blog: Remembering the Salcombe Lifeboat disaster in its centenary year

Guest Blog: Remembering the Salcombe Lifeboat disaster in its centenary year

David Arnold, Chairman of Peninsula Care Homes Ltd looks into the centenary year of the Salcombe Lifeboat disaster.

On October 27th 2016 we mark the centenary of the Salcombe lifeboat disaster, which saw the sinking of the Salcombe lifeboat William and Emma with the loss of 13 of its 15 man crew. Several special events have been arranged to recognise the incredible bravery of those who were lost. 

Having grown up in Salcombe after my parents moved there from Lancashire I feel a very personal connection to the town, the sea and the lifeboat service. The names of the crew who died are commemorated on the war memorial that overlooks the harbour. 

On October 27th 1916, in the middle of the First World War, the lifeboat was called out to save the crew of the Western Lass which had run aground off Prawle Point. People described the conditions as the worst in living memory, with huge breakers over the Salcombe bar.   The bar is a ridge that runs across the mouth of the harbour and at low tide and in any stormy weather must be treated with great respect.

Against all the odds the lifeboat crew managed to row out over the bar and reach the Western Lass. However on arriving there they found that all the crew had been rescued using rocket apparatus from the shore. It was a terrible irony that the lifeboat needn’t have left its base at South Sands, the crew of the Western Lass had already been rescued minutes before the lifeboat set off but in those days communications were slow and very basic.


When the crew tried to return to Salcombe huge waves over the bar caused the boat to capsize. Thirteen out of the fifteen crewmen died including more than one from the same family. This happened in full sight of families positioned on the cliffs but there was nothing anyone could do to help.

Of the two survivors one never wanted to go to sea again, whilst the other Eddie Distin agreed to become coxswain of a new lifeboat which he led from 1938 to 1971.

I was lucky enough to grow up in Salcombe and remember Eddie Distin as a larger than life figure in the town. As boys we were always thrilled to hear the double rockets whoosh into the sky and explode, calling men to station on a shout and frightening every seagull in the harbour but also telling every boat in the harbour to clear a way for the lifeboat. 

Sadly the rockets have been banned for ‘health and safety’ reasons and the crew are alerted with pagers. All eyes turn to the sea as the lifeboat sets off on another rescue.  I am very fortunate to have returned to Salcombe after many years away and the sound of the lifeboat engine is immediately recognisable and we get up to look at what is happening every single launch. 


There are many people in the emergency services and armed forces who are willing to risk their lives and wellbeing to keep us all safe. So as we mark the centenary of the Salcombe lifeboat disaster on October 27th let’s take a moment to think about all the brave men and women who put themselves in harms way to protect us, and let us have a special prayer for those in peril on the sea.

Guest Blog: Apple Day

Guest Blog: Apple Day

Peninsula Care Homes Care Manager, Margaret Haxton, shares her love of the humble apple in time for Apple Day.

Apple Day, 21 October, was launched in 1990 by Common Ground. The aspiration was to create a calendar custom, an autumn holiday. Up to this time I always thought of apples as…well, apples. But on looking into apples more carefully, I discovered that every apple planted from seed is unique, like every human being.

I had no idea that genetically, the apple behaves like humans do. It reproduces thanks to a male and female parent and the offspring will bear some family resemblance but will be different from them both. Every apple grown from a single seed is possibly a new variety of apple.  The only way to get more trees of a variety you like is to take cuttings and graft them on to new rootstock that means for instance, every Bramley apple tree in the world is a cutting of a cutting of a cutting that can be traced back to one tree that grew randomly from a seed in Nottinghamshire. The same applies to all other established varieties, the Granny Smith from a tree in Sydney, Australia, and so on.

Because you can use the apple for cooking so many things, such as apple pies, toffee apples, cider, etc., it has always been important for rural communities, so much so that in past days people would gather in winter in the orchards and wassail theses trees, sing their praises, and driving out evil spirits from their branches with screaming and firing off guns. It sounds a bit pagan, because it is. In the late nineties wassailing was known to only a few West Country Morris men, but now a wassail attracts hundreds of people anxious to hold on to our traditions, much like other traditions as Beating the Bounds, where a few years ago only the parish councillors walked the parish bounds and beating landmarks to ensure the next parish knew where the boundaries were, are now accompanied by many walkers also determined not to forget our ancient past.

For those who love facts here are a few about apples:

  1. Apples contain no fat, sodium or cholesterol and are a good source of fibre.
  2. There are 7,000 cultivated and named varieties in the world.
  3. Apple trees take four to five years to produce their first fruit.
  4. Apples ripen six to 10 times faster at room temperature than if they are refrigerated.
  5. The largest apple ever picked weighed 3 pounds.
  6. Apples are a member of the rose family.
  7. Apples account for 50 percent of international deciduous fruit tree production.
  8. A peck of apples weighs 10.5 pounds. A bushel of apples weighs about 42 pounds.

Well enough talking, I am off now to bake an apple and blackberry crumble, from apples grown in the bountiful orchard at Coppelia House and blackberries from my local hedgerows. Mustn’t forget the Clotted Cream!

Guest Blog: Cornerways Activity Coordinator’s September Highlights

Guest Blog: Cornerways Activity Coordinator’s September Highlights

Jane & Robert Cornerways Activity Co-ordinator’s share some highlights in their latest guest blog.

September was a very busy month for Cornerways with a new rail carriage frieze in the dining room complete with new furniture, new flooring, lights and railway inspired pictures.

We had a ‘Colour Clash Day’ to raise money for the charity Rowcroft Hospice, raising a total £109.00. Staff, residents and residents families dressed up in vibrant vivid clashing colours. The residents decorated cakes with similar bright colours which were on sale to visitors and staff. Our chef Robin excelled himself with rainbow cakes and also helped raise money when a member of staff offered to pay to see him get a creamy cake in the face! Which we boldly agreed to.


We held our first ever ‘Cornerways Fashion Show’ with staff, residents, the hair dresser and relatives modelling their favourite outfits and hats. Relatives and staff enjoyed it so much they have asked for it to be an annual event.

Residents also enjoyed a ‘Cheese and Wine Party’ that went down a storm.


October is proving to be another busy month seeing residents enjoy a Chocolate Week tasting afternoon, Swinging 60’s Themed Day and Seafront walks to enjoy the autumn colours (fingers crossed weather permitting).

Chocolate Week and National Curry Week

Chocolate Week and National Curry Week

It’s a busy week for foodies with Chocolate Week and National Curry Week being celebrated.

Whether it’s a Thai curry, Japanese curry or Indian curry, fiery, hot or mild, many people enjoy a curry. The most popular takeaway is apparently Indian with two thirds of meals out being Indian.

Our residents aren’t planning to beat the 2012 poppadom tower record, where 1280 poppadoms were piled high to celebrate National Curry Week. There is however curry on the menu in some of our homes and certainly a chocolate pudding option as standard.

Chocolate week has certainly captured everyone’s attention within the homes. Cornerways are starting their week and Bramble Down are ending their week with a chocolate fountain sensory tasting afternoon. A number of things will be dipped into the melted chocolate and enjoyed by many.

If you are visiting the homes, feel free to bring some chocolate treats for residents to enjoy and have fun judging their favourites, so they make pick their winners.

Happy Chocolate week and National Curry Week everyone.

#MemoryWalk Plymouth

#MemoryWalk Plymouth

On Saturday 8th October some Peninsula Care Home staff will be joining thousands of people warming up for the Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk.

Starting in front of the War Memorial on Plymouth Hoe we will be walking just under 10km. Described as a more challenging walk we will lap the impressive Royal Citadel before heading along the South Coast path to Royal William Yard and returning inland along picturesque streets.

We will be raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society campaign ‘walk for a world without dementia’. £100 raised would pay for a person with dementia to enjoy ten “singing for the brain” sessions to boost their confidence. Alternatively £100 could pay for genetic tests for 16 people in a clinical trial.


We are looking forward to exploring Plymouth, walking as a team all whilst raising money for Alzheimer’s Society. If we could request good weather that would be a bonus.

Should you wish to donate please visit our fundraising page