Sir Martyn Lewis officially opens Foxhunters ‘world beating’ care home

Date of news/blog: 24th January 2019

Sir Martyn Lewis CBE officially opened our Foxhunters luxury care home in Abergavenny, declaring it as “world-beating.”

The legendary television news presenter, who famously delivered the first bulletin on Princess Diana’s death, said the state-of-the-art home, situated on the town’s Westgate development, “sets the standard” for new care homes in the UK.

“I’ve seen a few care homes in my time, but this has got to be where Abergavenny leads the UK,” he said.

“I think if you have an elderly relative and you come here, then this sets the standard by which you judge everything else.”

Sir Martyn, now runs a business called Your Big Day, which uses the ITN & Reuters archives to produce personalised birthday & anniversary videos covering most of the last century, which he narrates. He was among 200 VIP guests at the Foxhunters official opening, which welcomed our first residents in November.

Guests were given tours of Foxhunters which boasts 70 ensuite rooms, providing a mix of residential, nursing and dementia care. They were able to see first-hand our care community’s impressive facilities including a cinema, bar, coffee shop, gym and hairdressing salon. Foxhunters also has its very own chef, who created delicious canapés for guest to enjoy with their champagne.

In the run-up to the official opening, we had asked members of the public to nominate worthy winners for their Local Unsung Hero award. Gloria Russell, 71, who has overcome many personal and health challenges to make crafts and raise money for local charities, was unveiled as the winner. She was presented with a specially-made award and a bouquet of flowers by Director of Foxhunters Care Community, Marie Wood. We also made a £250 donation to a charity chosen by Gloria.

Helen Davies-Parsons, CEO of Dormy Care Communities, said: “Today is the culmination of not weeks or months, but years of work and it’s not down to me. There’s a whole team of people and many organisations behind that.

“The vision is now a reality and I am fully committed to making this a success. My team and I will continue to grow Foxhunters and Dormy Care Communities into the outstanding home of choice in the local community. Where people who come and live with us can start a new chapter in their lives and continue to live that to the full.”

Before unveiling the plaque and officially declaring Foxhunters open, Sir Martyn gave an entertaining speech which revealed that Abergavenny holds fond memories for him and that he had regularly spent a lot of time at the Walnut Tree Inn where he had done a “huge amount of courting,” with his first wife, Liz Carse, in the late 1960s when he worked at HTV.

“One of the reasons why I wanted to come here today was that Helen’s (Parsons-Davies) husband Mike is involved in another group of care homes and my first wife Liz was in one of those care homes for the last 10 years of her life,” he said.

“She had a very advanced form of dementia. I have to tell you the care quality was absolutely outstanding. When I heard that Helen and Mike were opening this care home here and she was saying: “this is even better because of state-of-the-art” . . . and “lessons have been learnt” and so on, I thought “fantastic”.

“This really is state-of-the-art, right down to the amazing technology of those little ipad-type devices that are sitting beside every bed…it’s quite fantastic.

“It’s also a measure of the importance of this care home in the community that so many of you have turned out today for this launch, it’s a formidable turnout.

“It’s a real honour to come here because I’ve seen the quality of care that can be delivered and if it’s better than that, then it’s got to be world beating. It really is fantastic.

“As you look around the home, they have thought of absolutely everything from the latest new future-proof technology right through to the pub. What a great idea. The other thing I quite like is that it’s all inclusive here. There are no little hidden extras. It seems to me to make a lot of sense. People can budget, they know the cost.

“I think this really does lead the way for care homes of the future. You could argue that the latest care home to be built from scratch, as this was, would always be a leader, but I think the care and attention and thought that has gone into it makes it a home rather than a formula for care.

“Huge congratulations on this amazing building. People put their children’s name down for Eton, I want to put my name down (for Foxhunters) at some point!”

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