Robert Hearn has lived at Edenmore Nursing Home in Ilfracombe since March 2023 and sadly lives with advanced cancer.  In a conversation with one of Edenmore’s care assistants, Carol, Robert wistfully said that a wish before his next journey was a simple one, to have a pint of his favourite cider with his friends in his old local pub The Village Inn in Westward Ho.

So Carol and Gayle, Edenmore’s Home Manager, didn’t hesitate to make arrangements!  Timing for the 45 minute journey was perfect as the home had recently bought a new car specifically for residents, who are fondly referred to as family members, so this was momentous also as Robert was first to have a run out in it!

First step was for Gayle to contact Roberts’ closest friend, Peter Mills, who then arranged for other friends of Robert to meet in the pub.  As Robert entered The Village Inn,” the sheer emotion was indescribable” says Gayle who went along with Robert and Carol, “literally all of the pub welcomed him, the love shown was just beautiful, the familiarity for Robert, sat at his usual table, with his favourite bird magazine ready to read, and the most important part a pint of cider!

Carol and Gayle was there to support Robert and also to make memories, “this is why I work in social care, this is my purpose, some call this person-centred care but to me it’s simply about seeing a person and doing what’s in my heart which is simply being compassionate”.  Part of the support in the home for Robert is for eating and drinking and Gayle said with a smile on her face “at one point I had to support the pint of cider whilst Robert was drinking, he joked that he thought I was taking it off him and asked if he could have another one, he chuckled for a long time when I said I can’t tell you how many to have, that’s your choice, so he continued with a couple more!”

After a pint (or two) Robert, Gayle and Carol headed down to the promenade for a stroll, again something Robert used to enjoy doing after a pint when living in the area.

Gayle continued “I thought walking in to the pub was emotional but the car journey back was another level of emotion, Robert cried for most of the journey but happy emotions, he just kept repeating thank you, thank you, and how overwhelmed he was with his friends turning up to see him.”

The Team at Edenmore are there not only to support Robert to be comfortable and to show nothing but love and compassion during this time leading to his next journey, but to ensure Robert still lives with dignity, encourages independence and to ensure Robert is able to make choices, his choices, not confined to any society norms that may be perceived during this journey, he has lived life and still remains living life until he chooses not to.

The support on the Westward Ho Community Facebook page has been explosive, just evidencing the love and support this truly remarkable gent is surrounded by.