PILLOW TALK FOR A CARE HOME RESIDENT
Second World War veteran Ken Benbow, 94, was overcome with emotion as he was filmed by staff at Thistleton Lodge Care Home in Preston, as teenage carer Kia Mariah Tobin, gave him this touching gift of a cushion featuring a picture of his late wife, ‘beautiful, caring wife Ada’. a sentimental cushion featuring a picture of his late wife. The couple were married for 75 years before her death last year.
Kia, 17, from Blackpool, who has moved into the home to assist during the pandemic, was inspired to order this very special gift after noticing Ken would take a framed photo of Ada to bed each night. She said: “He would take this picture in a metal and glass frame off the wall every night. Knowing how important it was, I just thought there has to be a better and more comfortable way.”
She and the staff had no idea how far reaching the special moment would travel and just wanted to record the presentation as a heart-warming memory for Ken and the staff to remember this time.
“It was just an idea I had to do something comforting for Ken and when I brought it in and showed the team, my manager suggested we should record his reaction.
“Ken is fantastic, so wonderful, he speaks so much of Ada and how much he loved her, – in a strange way I know her without having ever met her just from the way he talks of her. He’s a real character and it’s the people I’ve met that have made this job so rewarding for me. It was my own grandma who suggested I give it a go.”
Ken, from Garstang, was just 17 himself when he joined the Navy. His service saw him take part in most of the important theatres of war including D-Day and in the Pacific for the preparations for the invasion of Japan, just before the US dropped the atomic bomb which ended the war. He left the Navy in 1946 and was awarded the Légion d’Honneur by the French Government in 2016.
He met Ada while out dancing, just one week after he moved to Liverpool – “I can still see that post she was leaning against with her friends.” The couple courted for two months before making plans to get married. He described proposing to Ada at a dance, adding: “We were always dancing. I used to fling her over my shoulder and we would jitterbug. It was lovely! She was the most caring, beautiful wife anyone could ever wish to have. She never did a thing wrong in her whole life.”
Kia added she hoped the attention from the video would help to put a spotlight on the role of carers during the pandemic and the work behind the scenes to keep the vulnerable safe. She said: “The NHS are amazing in what they are doing but we know so many carers and home care workers who are too doing their bit working every day to go place to place to make sure people are protected and looked after.
“It’s not an easy time and that needs to be recognised. Care homes are dealing with this too and the support is vital.”