The White House care home in Teignmouth, part of the Centrum Care Group, is delighted to announce a heartwarming event as part of its inspiring initiative, the “Just One Wish Campaign.” This campaign is dedicated to fulfilling the heartfelt wishes of residents, bringing happiness and meaningful experiences to their lives.

One of our cherished residents, Joan Allum, who is 99 this month (June), recently expressed her deep longing to revisit her former life as a teacher. In response to this touching wish, The White House care home partnered with Our Lady and St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Primary School (OLSP) to create a memorable day for Joan.

On 5th June at 1:15 pm, Joan stepped back into a classroom setting, engaging with Year 4 students at OLSP. The event was a beautiful intergenerational bridge, allowing Joan to share her vast experience and vibrant spirit with the young students.

Upon her arrival, Joan was greeted warmly by the children, who sat eagerly on the floor awaiting her presence. With a smile that lit up the room, Joan took her place at the front of the class. Despite living with dementia, Joan’s enthusiasm was palpable as she interacted with the children, pointing out each one with joy and amazement.

The classroom was filled with laughter and learning as the children asked Joan numerous questions. Joan, with assistance, answered each query with a smile, sparking delightful moments of mutual discovery and fun. One particularly amusing moment occurred when Joan, misunderstood a question, leading to laughter from everyone, including herself. It was a testament to the inclusive atmosphere of the visit.

Joan’s eyes sparkled as she examined the children’s work. She read their writings, praised their efforts, and even corrected a spelling mistake, embodying the adage, “once a teacher, always a teacher.” The children were keen to communicate, eagerly raising their hands to gain her attention.

Joan shared fond memories of her teaching days, recounting the daily ritual of greeting her class with a cheerful “Good morning, children!” and receiving a chorus of “Good morning, Mrs. Allum” in return. She expressed immense delight at seeing so many bright, eager faces and took a keen interest in their studies, especially in Maths and English.

After the visit, Joan remarked on how much she enjoyed the experience, highlighting the children’s good behaviour and the pleasure of looking through their books. She was particularly fascinated by how they learned to add up money, reflecting her enduring passion for education.

Tracie Bowen, Registered Manager at The White House care home, shared her thoughts on the event: “Witnessing Joan’s wish come to life was an extraordinarily magical moment for all of us. It was profoundly moving to see the enthusiasm she brought into the classroom, and the children’s heartfelt responses were equally touching. This is exactly what the ‘Just One Wish Campaign’ is all about – transforming dreams into reality and creating lasting, unforgettable memories that enrich lives. We want to thank Our Lady and St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Primary School (OLSP) for welcoming Joan. It was a fantastic day.”

Joan has been a beloved resident of The White House care home for four years. This visit was not just a fulfilment of her wish but a testament to the power of community and the enduring impact of a dedicated teacher.

For more information on The White House care home, click here: