At ECL our customers really are at the heart of every decision made and every action taken. That’s why we’ve decided to meet our customers and get to know them personally.
This week we caught up with Ellen, a customer at Ashleigh Wellbeing Hub, Basildon, who attends our Older People’s service. At a grand age of 97 we had a chat about her extraordinary life (warning, have your tissues at the ready) and her time at the Hub.
Born in 1918, Ellen grew up in London with her brother and two sisters and it was on the day of her 21st birthday that the announcement broke – World War II had begun.
Before the World War, Ellen became pen pals with a young chap and they soon became close friends. Unfortunately as the war progressed, Ellen lost touch with her friend and joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), becoming a fundamental part of the war effort.
Whilst on leave from the Air Force she returned to her parents’ house in London and only hours after arriving home the house was stuck by a falling bomb and both Ellen and her mother were injured. The St John’s Ambulance arrived and low and behold, the paramedic on the scene was Ellen’s long lost pen friend.
After reconnecting the two became close friends, falling in love and eventually marrying. Due to her being in the services, she was one of the few that wore a white wedding dress through a scheme run by the Canadian Government.
We asked Ellen what she likes to do at the Hub: “I enjoy the games, arts & crafts and taking part in the reminisce sessions and of course a cup of tea.”
Ellen said; “When you reach my age, it’s better to be out and about meeting friends and socialising. At the Hub I can chat to people and get to know them, take part in games to keep my mind active and the staff help me to take care of myself.”
As we delved further into her past, we also discovered Ellen is a talented and keen writer of poems and short stories. Last year she was recognised by Essex County Council for being the longest contestant in the competition she entered her first one in 1970.
Our Older Peoples’ service promotes independence, offers respite care to families looking after an elderly relative at home and provides company for those who live alone to help combat loneliness.