Category: History

Remembrance Day at Coppelia House

Remembrance Day at Coppelia House

Our Homes all like to pay their respects on Remembrance Day, honouring all those that fought for our country.

Each Home created their own display within the Home or garden.  Coppelia House wanted to link their remembrance to their local community Moretonhampstead.

Resident Robert Beer who served in the RAF, went to the local memorial ceremony and laid a wreath on behalf of Coppelia residents and staff.

Within Coppelia’s garden, poppies were made by the residents, each poppy recorded the names of those lost from Moretonhampstead.  Residents also made purple poppy’s to pay tribute to the many animals lost in war.

Within the Home residents’ created a display to greet visitors. They also made poppy plaques for their front doors and decorated the dining room.

Residents watched the remembrance service which was especially poignant on the 100th anniversary since the end of the First World War.

Cornerways couple celebrate 71st Wedding Anniversary in style

Cornerways couple celebrate 71st Wedding Anniversary in style

Our first guest blog of the year comes from Peninsula Care Homes Business Manager, Dianne Gregory, who met with Cornerways resident couple celebrating their 71st Wedding Anniversary. Dianne shares her blog with us:

We were privileged at Cornerways recently to share in the celebrations of residents John and Cicely Balson who boast 71 years of marriage! After a bit of research I was unable to find the recognised symbol of 71 years, with 60 years being an expensive Diamond and 70 years being more expensive Platinum, I decided that 71 years must just be put down to ‘true love’

I met with both John and Cicely to find out a bit more…

John, originally from Bristol commenced in the army as a mechanical engineer but after a serious accident and with severe burns to his legs he was hospitalised for a year and asked to leave the army. Sheer determination from his mother pleading with the army to take him back enabled John to continue his career.

Cicely formerly from Scartho, Grimsby also joined the army as a shorthand typist.

They first met at Buntingford Barracks, Hertfordshire. John was 20 years old and Cicely 19 years, they were married in December 1945 in Cicelys local church in Scartho, a reception followed at the parish hall. As the war had only recently ended, food remained rationed but Cicelys mother produced a beautiful spread for all 100 guests.

With both John and Cicely in the army they were fortunate to travel to many Countries including Korea, Hong Kong, Malta and Germany to name a few.

They have a son, Mervyn and daughter, Patricia, four grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

They moved to Paignton following retirement and to be nearer to their son.

They are quite rightly proud of all the service medals they have received and remember fondly meeting members of the Royal Family.


I asked the secret of a long and happy marriage, and Cicely said “we’ve always helped each other and never rowed” John smiled in agreement… She went on to say, that they always worked hard, and she would often do additional shorthand work in the evenings, she said they both had a very good work ethic.

Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline

Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline

This week our homes will be joining in efforts to raise money for Children in Need.  We thought we would take this opportunity to tell you about another charity we support helping children.  For the last two years Peninsula Care Homes has paid for hotel accommodation for the children at Heathrow on their last night in the U.K., which has been greatly appreciated by the children, their group leader and the charity.

The Chernobyl disaster occurred on 26th April 1986 when the fourth reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant near Belaurus exploded. It is thought it will take 400 years to rid the area of contamination.

Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline was established in 1992.  Because of the charity some 60,000 children from Belarus have visited Britain. Whilst here they receive some basic medical attention including dental care and eye examination. The month break is thought to boost their damaged immune system and improve their quality of life.


Our local Totnes & South Hams link hosted 8 children last year. They arrived in Devon with no English, very little clothes for their month stay.  In addition to medical treatment they got to enjoy Devon.  Each year a range of fun activities are enjoyed which can include a ride on a Rib, tea party at the Winking Prawn in Salcombe, horse riding, surf lesson, first trip to the seaside and making sandcastles, visits to local attractions.  They return home after their medical treatment, fun in Devon and a huge bag full of clothes for themselves and to share with their siblings.

If you think you could host two children or donate please visit

World Nursery Rhyme Week

World Nursery Rhyme Week

This week its World Nursery Rhyme Week and having recently visited Cornerways with my one year old son, Jack, it appears nursery rhymes are similar to Christmas Carols you never seem to forget them.  Jack had a gentleman sing “Humpty Dumpty”  whilst a lady recited “Pat a cake” complete with actions.  

Do you have a favourite that you could recite?  I seem to find myself singing “twinkle twinkle little star” and it does help Jack go to sleep probably because he’s had enough of my singing.  We go to swimming lessons each week and all techniques are learnt whilst singing nursery rhymes: “12345 Once I Caught A Fish Alive”, “The Grand Old Duke of York” to name a few.

I hadn’t until recently ever considered how important nursery rhymes are in early childhood development. Some experts claim that if a child knows eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they are four, they are usually amongst the best readers and spellers in their class.  Nursery rhymes are great way to learn early phonic skills, they provide practice in pitch, volume as well as language rhythm.  Experts believe that its not just language development they help with its cognitive development, physical development, aid with maths, as well as providing social/emotional development.  With all these benefits we will certainly keep reciting nursery rhymes to our little one.

In the spirit of World Nursery Rhyme Week, Parkland House residents spent an afternoon this week reciting nursery rhymes and reminiscing about their favourite childhood rhymes. All the residents remembered all the words and thoroughly enjoyed the activity.


So in the Homes during World Nursery Rhyme Week  don’t be surprised if you hear staff and residents reminiscing on their favourite nursery rhymes, participating in nursery rhyme themed quizzes and perhaps making our own rhymes up.  If you have a little one or grand or even great grandchild there is some fantastic free resources available on Musicbugs website and in some local libraries.

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.

Coppelia House History Factfile

Coppelia House History Factfile

The site of the present day Coppelia House can first be identified on a Manorial Survey in 1790. The site was about a third of an acre and described as a ‘barn, linhay and garden’. It belonged to the manor of the Earl of Devon, Lord Courtenay.

By 1818 there was an inhabited property on the site called ‘Borohaye’. In 1844 a solicitor named William White paid land tax on the ‘dwellinghouse with offices, stable, coach house and garden, of about half an acre’. The freehold was still held by Lord Courtenay.

Following the death of William White in 1854 the property was divided equally between his six brothers and sisters. It was agreed by all parties that Borohaye became a Convalescent Home, although a plaque by the door sates ‘To the Glory of God this convalescent homes was founded in 1873 by the Misses Lovell Phillips of Torquay…’ initially for 14 patients.

The Bowrings sold the property to Miss Mary and Miss Julia Phillips in 1877. In 1879 and extension was added to the men’s sitting room and women’s large ward. In 1898 the dining room wing was added, further alterations were made to other areas within the home during 1905, all funded by voluntary contributions and income from investments. Accommodation was raised to 25 patients. In 1901 the ‘Phillips’ purchased the ‘garden ground’ of Moor View (a house in nearby Pound St).

In 1948 at the start of the National Health Service it was taken over as the Moretonhampstead Recovery Hospital and formally opened following refurbishment in 1950. In 1956 a new sun lounge was opened.

The Convalescent Home closed in 1975 and remained empty until 1980 when it was purchased by Roger & Jill Passmore. It was renamed Coppelia House and ran as a private nursing and residential home with 30 beds.

In February 2003 Coppelia House was purchased by Peninsula Care Homes as a 30 bed Home. In Peninsula Care Homes took the decision to no longer continue with nursing and Coppelia House became a Residential Home.

Plymbridge House History Factfile

Plymbridge House History Factfile

Plymbridge House is situated at the Plympton end of Plymbridge Road, and was the first house to be built in Plymbridge Road around 1890. The Home was previously the vicarage for St Mary’s Church. The Reverend Joseph Mercer Cox the Contempory Incumbent of St Mary’s Church became the first vicar to live at Plymbridge House.

The vicarage was converted into a Residential Home and renamed in 1983. Situated in one acre of landscaped grounds the home offers sheltered patios and attractive gardens.

Registered Manager of Plymbridge House, Kathie Shopland, has over seen a number of improvements to the Home for many years and cares deeply about the quality of care provided to Plymbridge Residents, along with regular training for her staff.