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All Posts in Category: Bridgemead

Marion - 18 September (2)

Tambourines, maracas and garlands

Bridey - 18 September 2017 (2)Don and Jean 3 - 18 September (2)Maggie - 18 September (2)

Frankie Johns came to Bridgemead yesterday for the afternoon with his tambourines, maracas, hats and garlands for an afternoon of country and western, and fun. He said ” Everyone joined in the singing and we all enjoyed it. I’d not been to Bridgemead before but everyone was very welcoming.”

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Maria Pic for Article

An Extraordinary Life

Maria Borkowski, who comes to Day Club at Bridgemead, will be 90 on 18th September 2017 and tells her extraordinary story.

Taken from her family at 13 years old

Looking immaculate and with twinkling eyes she tells how at the age of 13 she was taken from her family by the Gestapo from her home in Poland: “If they had not taken me it would have been my parents,” she says. She travelled on a very crowded train with no windows to Gagindrach.

There she had to milk seven cows twice a day, her hands swollen with cold. She had never milked a cow in her life. She was given one dress, petticoat, and wooden shoes and was extremely cold. She was forced to steal eggs as there was so little to eat. Bombs fell frequently but she was too scared to go to the shelter and hid in the hay. She worked with two French prisoners of war in the day and they went back to the Camp at night. She could not communicate with her family at all: “I just lived each day at a time,” she says.


After two and a half years the English and Americans came to rescue her: “We had an Easter Sunday dinner – it was lovely” she smiles. She was transferred to the Polish ATS in Berwick-on-Tweed, where she met her husband: “A lovely man, everyone loved him, they still love him”. Sadly, he died 4 years ago, after 66 years of marriage.

Moving to Bath

After he was demobbed the couple moved to Bath. It was very hard to find somewhere to live; after moving round they finally found one room near the current Marks and Spencer’s building. Originally, they were told they could stay for nine weeks, but ended up living there for nine years, the two of them and their three children in one room. “There was no water and just a gas ring to cook on. I had to fetch the water. I knitted and sewed clothes and when I took the children to the clinic the doctor always said how nice and clean they looked.”

“Then we moved to a cottage in Hedgemead Park where we stayed for 30 years. My husband had to fix up everything, the walls were full of holes – he was a clever man and did it all except the gas and electrics. My fourth child was born with a dislocated hip. It was a hard decision, but she had to wear a splint for 3 years, but it was all worth it, she recovered and she still has the splint now.” Maria is very proud of her four children, nine grandchildren and eight great grandchildren, with another one expected on 17th December.

Bridgemead Day Club

Then Maria and her husband moved to Brassmill Lane where she now lives. She heard about Bridgemead Day Club through friends and has been coming here since July. “I enjoy the lovely people here”, she says “I love the colouring – making poppies, ladybirds, mushrooms and flowers.  I love my food and there is a very nice lunch. We do exercises. I exercise every morning at home for 20 minutes. I sleep well, eat well (but I don’t like fatty meat) and enjoy different people.”

It was very inspiring to have coffee and her favourite cinnamon biscuits with Maria, and hear her extraordinary story.

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Elliot on a break in the conservatory

Bridgemead feasts

The Deputy Mayor, Councillor Rob Appleyard, said on a recent visit:” Bridgemead is brilliant. There is a sense of grace and love here, and the food is amazing!” Elliot Gower is part of the great team in the kitchens at Bridgemead producing the amazing food. He has worked here for 12 years, with the chefs Mark and Maria.

He says: “They are a good bunch of people and we have a laugh. Everyone has five minutes to spare chatting to the residents. It can be stressful but everyone goes out of their way to help each other. Everything is cooked from scratch and it is all fresh, except for the cod in batter.”

“The most popular dish is a roast dinner – pork, lamb, chicken or beef. On their birthdays residents choose their favourite menus – and it is always a roast dinner or salmon.”

“Everyone loves the puddings: Eton mess, cherry pie, fresh fruit cocktail, chocolate sponge, banana custard and baked apple are favourites – there’s hardly ever anything left.”

“We cater for everyone, whether it’s yeast free, dairy free or fat free; or we puree some foods for those who can’t swallow easily.”

“All in all, it’s a homely, friendly environment.”

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Iris Stanton and Brian Paginton Golden Toes Tropical Summer seated dance class 07.08.17. 2

It’s Samba time!

Lauren from Golden Toes got everybody moving with a tropical themed seated dance class this week. Everyone had a go at the samba, flamenco and hula dance and Bridgemead was dancing! Lauren said “Everyone performed beautifully and it was a great pleasure to dance with and for everyone.”

Maggie Drew Golden Toes Tropical Summer seated dance class Paginton and Maggie Drew Golden Toes Tropical Summer seated dance class 07.08.17Marion and Sylvia Golden Toes Tropical Summer Dance Class__ 07.08.174

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Botanical gardens 1

Blooming in the Botanical Gardens

Five Bridgemead residents, along with Heather, Denise and Sonia took advantage of the sunshine by taking a stroll around Bath Botanical Gardens this week,and admired the flower borders in full bloom.

Residents enjoyed watching families and children picnicking and playing in the sunshine. Dog walkers stopped to chat and their dogs were petted by all. It was the perfect day for ice-cream at the Royal Pavilion Café in Royal Victoria Park afterwards with a lovely view of the bowling green and tennis courts.

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Sheila talks about her 5 month respite stay at Bridgemead

  1. Why did you stay at Bridgemead?

“Last year I had a very nasty fall and ended up in Southmead Hospital having a 5 hour operation on my neck: the surgeon had to take a bone from my hip to replace some of the vertebrae in my neck. My son, who lives in Paris, looked around several nursing homes to find somewhere for me to stay while I recovered. He said one was very luxurious, but when he went to Bridgemead he talked to Pam and was very impressed, and thought Bridgemead would suit me as I would be really happy there. I stayed there for five months from end of December to May 2017.”


  1. What did you like about Bridgemead?

“I had a lovely room overlooking the river – there was always something to look at. There was a bath, although I would have preferred a shower. The staff were really good, especially Nicola who had been there for 18 years. On the whole the staff were very good. Sometimes some of the night staff were bank staff but the Sisters were in charge. The Sisters definitely made sure I took all my pills!”

“The atmosphere was very friendly and pleasant. I sat on the end of a table for four in the dining room and got to know the other people. The food was really good.”

“I really enjoyed having the family room next door to me, to use with my visitors. We had our own tea and coffee and could look out over the river or go outside onto the balcony. In fact I had my 80th birthday party there with a lovely cake with a paint brush and music on it!”

“I also loved going to the roof garden. I put on my coat and took my walker and went up there to dead-head the pansies – they made a lovely display! I also liked to sit in the conservatory and to go to the garden at the bottom. I really enjoyed going down to the river right at the bottom, there was a sense of being somewhere very different there.”

“I liked the attitude of the people at Bridgemead. If there was something they could do to help you they would. There was a lady who always came to the dining room in her bare feet. I asked Pam about it and she said she always did this at home and Bridgemead is her home. I remember I wanted to go out on my own for a walk, so I went out. Pam came out to see me and arranged for some-one to go with me. Eventually my physio said I could go on my own. She still comes here now and I am learning to salsa with her – lots of side and backward steps!”

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James & Danny in front of Dryham Park

Day out at Dyrham Park

On 31st May four of our residents Danny York, James Elliott, Edward Horesh and Jean Kemmery went out on a trip to see the beautiful ancient deer park, seventeenth century house and garden at Dyrham Park. They were accompanied by four staff  – Denise Harris (Senior Carer), Veronica Ward (Carer), Kristyna Jancikova (Registered Nurse), and Michelle Jenner (Activities Co-ordinator).


Three residents chose to go around the house – Edward (with Kristyna), Danny (with Denise) and James (with Veronica). All the National Trust staff were very helpful and co-operative. All the residents visited the gardens and were very impressed.  Veronica took James around the gardens and the pond.  Denise took Danny around the gardens and the pond. Some areas are difficult for wheelchairs, such as the cobbled courtyard and some gravel in the gardens and steep slopes.  These difficulties were negotiated successfully by the well trained staff, who all have moving and handling training.

Tea at Dyrham Park café was a great success although Danny said that the scones were not as good as the ones his wife used to make!  Edward enjoyed his favourite Marshfield ice-cream and James liked the ice-cream too. Michelle says: “I love taking residents out on outings because they enjoy it so much.  It’s wonderful to see them in a different environment, they are more relaxed, sociable and jolly.”


Previous successful trips have included outings to  National Trust ‘Courts Gardens’, Prior Park Garden Centre, Chew Valley Lake, and ‘Salt & Malt’ café.

A visit to Bath City Farm for ‘Feathered Friends’ a sociable chicken keeping/cuddling project, for the over 60s and those living with dementia, and their carers is planned next.


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Bridgemead Complete River View

Planning Permission Granted for New Wing

The trustees of Bridgemead Care Home are delighted to announce that planning permission has been granted to enhance and carry out a major upgrade to their current building in St John’s Road, Bath. The new wing will extend services for vulnerable older people in a dementia-friendly setting. The building will also be protected from flooding. The trustees need to raise £4,400,000 to carry out the work.

Work is planned in three stages:
Stage 1. Flood Resilience £670,000

Stage 2. New South Wing £2,740,000
A new south wing will create an enclosed external courtyard and restructuring will provide 12 en-suite rooms which are dementia friendly, with new equipment such as bariatric hoists to help patients out of bed, and into a wheelchair.

Stage 3. Improvements £990,000

A riverside lounge and an upgrade of five residents’ rooms with en-suite facilities, and upgrades to the main reception area are planned.

Geoffrey Weekes, Chair of the trustees, says: “We have a lovely home with caring staff and have maintained our values which are driven by the same Christian principles on which Bridgemead was founded. Yet we have to be realistic and adapt to today’s challenges. We are delighted that planning permission for our imaginative but sympathetic extension, designed by SRA Architects, has been granted and are excited to start fundraising.”

As well as extending the Care Home it will be protected from further flooding. On Christmas Eve 2013, the River Avon was dangerously high and was only 5 inches or 130mm from flooding the ground floor of Bridgemead. The 32 older Bath residents would have to be evacuated. How could this be done, and where could the vulnerable residents go on Christmas Eve? Fortunately, levels receded and residents and families could enjoy Christmas in the comfortable homely environment of Bridgemead. However, every time there is heavy rain, the manager, Pam Bourton, says “I have an awful feeling and worry we might have to consider evacuation procedures again.”

This threat coupled with more complex care needs in our older population often with increasing levels of dementia have been the spur to prepare vital new building plans.
The plans also incorporate a community suite where services can be offered to older vulnerable members of the community who are not residents.

Plans have been granted approval on 5/6/2017.

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How to live to be 100

Miss Jean Tranah, who has lived at Bridgemead Care Home for the last ten years, and will be 100 on 10th June, reveals her secrets for those who aspire to centenarianism. Jean, who was born in Wimbledon, left school at 15, was a children’s nurse, then volunteered for the WRNS in World War II. After the War she worked in a children’s home, and then became a companion for 28 years to a lady who was an optician in New Bond Street.

1.Be positive and cheerful

“It’s what you make of situations that counts. I try to think of others and how they are feeling, and be happy and cheerful and not think of myself too much. I would have liked to have been married, but some people are called to a single life and can be a blessing to others and try to help.”

2.”Live one day at a time, one step at a time, and trust in the Lord. I have a deep faith and trust in the Lord, He’s seeing me through. I have lots to thank the Lord for – he has granted me many blessings. I had a fall and was in hospital. My friends prayed for me and their prayers were answered in a wonderful way. There was one vacancy here and I moved in to Bridgemead with these wonderful kind people. People say this is the best home and I agree. I call the staff ministering angels – they are very caring and look after me. It’s lovely to see the river and the greenery around.”

3.Eat well

“My favourite meal is chicken, cream potatoes, sprouts and carrots and strawberry pavlova for pudding. The food is good here.”

4.Keep moving

“ I don’t like to sit too long. I use a frame now as two sticks were not enough support, but I like to keep going. We do exercises with music and I enjoy skittles.”

5.Get involved

I have the great privilege of being asked every Thursday to help choose the hymns and give the Bible reading in “Quiet Time”. I used to be very shy as a girl, but this has helped me a lot.

After my lovely Japanese spaniel was put to sleep I wanted to help the RSPCA cats and dogs home, so I have been knitting blankets for the cats and dogs and they are sent up to Claverton. I’m now on my thirtieth blanket.”

6.Look forward

“I’ve had joys and disappointments – I have no children, my sister was killed in a car crash in America, I lost my lady I worked for, but I keep on going and don’t give in. It’s important to go forward and not keep looking back.”

7.Be interested

“I try to think of other people and be interested in them – I can lose myself in other people.”





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