This International Women’s Day, Hartford Care is celebrating the adventures and successes of the inspirational female residents across its care homes: 

Over at Inver House in Bembridge, on the Isle of Wight, 95-year-old Heather has been looking back on her career with the care home staff and fellow residents. Heather started working in nursing; her mother Marjorie had always encouraged her to find a career in a time when women were assigned to stereotypical roles in the workplace. Aged 22, while travelling on a train, Heather was scouted by a modelling agent and began working in London, modelling for Dior and travelling with designer Sybil Connolly to Honolulu, Australia and New York, before a move to Paris and working for Yves Saint Laurent and Givenchy. In her late 30s, Heather returned to her first career in nursing, before retiring in her mid-50s. 

Pamela Pulfer, a resident at Bethel House, Barton on Sea, founded the New Milton stroke group in 1991, creating a social space for stroke survivors; over the years – with Pamela as chair – the group provided practical support and motivation to hundreds of members, as well as talks, entertainment and programmes to stimulate mind and body. 

At Boulters Lock in Maidenhead, the staff and residents are celebrating Jennifer Butler, a qualified nurse who changed career to become an air stewardess. In 1961, on a flight from Barbados to London, a passenger went into labour; Jennifer safely delivered the baby and was rewarded with a certificate from the British Overseas Airways Corporation for meritorious service. 

At West Cliff Hall in Hythe, Alma has looked back on her first job at 15 years old; she worked in the very same building she now resides in, when it was a hotel. Alma’s role involved washing the steps and preparing the front entrance each morning before putting on her uniform and waitressing.

Ina Hall, a resident of Malden House in Sidmouth, was a member of the RAF from 1949 to 1953 when she started her family. She has been Lady President of Royal Aircraft Establishment Bowls Club and continues to play bowls today! Sally Stephens, another resident at Malden House, is the care home’s adventurer; she has visited almost every continent; she’s zip-wired in Costa Rica, ridden a camel in Australia and travelled to the Cook Islands.

Kevin Shaw, Chief Executive of Hartford Care, comments: “Our ethos is rooted in creating communities that welcome everyone and celebrate individuality. To listen to the incredible stories of the women who live in our care homes truly illustrates the diversity of our residents’ backgrounds. It’s an honour and an inspiration to celebrate the fantastic lives of our residents this International Women’s Day – and every day.”

Hartford Care’s Central Support Team is based in Basingstoke, Hampshire. Established in 2003, its current care homes are in Bristol, Berkshire (Burnham and Maidenhead), Devon (Sidmouth), Dorset (Poole), Hampshire (Aldershot, Barton-on-Sea, Four Marks, Hythe, Portsmouth, Winchester and Woodlands), Isle of Wight (Bembridge, Ryde and Shanklin), Oxfordshire (Witney) and Wiltshire (Downton and Swindon).