Peverel Court Care Introduce Our Resident Artist Kenneth Down
On arrival at Peverel Court Care, each one of our residents is asked a series of questions about their preferences and personality so that we can make their lives enjoyable and comfortable. It’s one of the most important parts of our work.
But once we spend more time with those who need our care and support, we learn so many other amazing things about them.
In the coming months we would like to introduce you to some of our residents. We’re beginning this week by telling you about the life of Kenneth Down, who lives at Bartlett’s Residential Care Home with his wife Lilian.
Kenneth is known to be a keen artist. He loves to draw. Though he has had some career success involving creativity when he worked in advertising and publishing, his first job was helping a milkman push the cart. His last job was as a civil servant before he retired in 1993. He says if he could have his time again he would put more emphasis on drawing, something he hopes to have more time to do now that he lives with us here.
When we asked him about his retirement he had these wise words to share:
“I have been retired for 20 years and it’s much the same as the other 43 years. Don’t believe a word!”
We can only guess that Kenneth is referring to how busy he has been both in employment and since he left work since he says repeatedly that he hopes he will now have time for drawing and social activities, though besides drawing he isn’t sure what he would like to do for entertainment. His likes include astronomy, Egyptology, athletics and some sciences.
Kenneth and Lilian have been married for 63 years and recently received a card from the Queen. On the day he married Lilian, Kenneth says he had “£6 in the world”. Together they had fourteen different homes throughout their married life, as well as a son – who is 56 and a doctor.
“He has been a wonderful son, especially lately. Our son never gives us any reason for regret and we love him and his wife and children.”
During the war Kenneth was living in Newquay, so he said there was no real hardship for him other than rationing, which they “got used to” but he did see a bombing.
“I saw a slick of bombs fall from a German plane over Newquay. They dropped in a field next to where my girlfriend lived. Their windows blew in.”
In 1948 when he was a signalman on a warship in the Mediterranean, Kenneth interrupted two NATO exercises. He was punished for falling into a harbour at Piraeus in Greece, where he struggled with the weeds at the bottom, and a trip in the back of a lorry near the Alps almost lead to death when they ran into a soldier and heard the safety catch on his gun removed. Kenneth has lived a busy life, punctuated with drama.
“I was the only boy to have the cane at my grammar school, for walking past my girlfriend’s school! That was in nineteen forty something when we were all in our early teens.”
For 34 years Kenneth and Lilian never had a holiday. Now, after a period of illness, they’re looking forward to relaxing here at Peverel Court Care.
“A real treat is what I am experiencing where I live now. I hope I will now have time to draw.”