Meet our Residents
It’s important as we get older to engage in activities which keep us happy and healthy. In celebration of Older People’s Day, these are some of the ways three Abbeyfield Oxford residents contribute to society in their older years, while enjoying the companionship in their home.
Jean (pictured here with Tony – see below) is a former House Manager here, and says “I am fortunate to be able to lend a hand in the Abbeyfield house and garden. I have grown a herb garden for use in the kitchen and check that the plants in the Conservatory are watered and cared for. I love to help in the kitchen and make a dessert for the residents each Tuesday. I have also made lots of chutney with fruit from our trees in the garden. However it’s important to have interests outside Abbeyfield and I have several:
- U3A (University of the Third Age). I have been a U3A member for many years, and joined the Oxford Branch as soon as I arrived. We have a weekly lecture on a huge variety of subjects by some excellent speakers. I have also been able to form a Walking Group which is going from strength to strength. We walk once a month in and around Oxford, followed by coffee or a pub break en-route.
- I also belong to the Fieldpaths walking group.
- I am a Friend of the JR Hospital and help to run the cafe in West Wing every Wednesday morning 8-12 – hard work but fun!
- Having been asked to lead a small French Conversation Group, this has brought me some very good friends. The French is basic, but we keep it light-hearted and learn a bit along the way.
- I am a volunteer with the Oxford University Cognitive Neuropsychology Centre. Their research is examining how social factors influence visual perception and memeory, and is part of a project aimed at improving our understanding of changes in the brain following a stroke, comparing this with a non-stroke person (like me).
- I am a Friend of Headington Hill Park, where I often walk as it is just across the road. I also have an annual pass to the Botanic Gardens, nearby, and I love to watch the changing seasons in the gardens and parks.
- I have just begun a drawing course, hoping to improve my plants and flowers skills with the help of a trained artist.
It isn’t easy to restrict interests and activities in Oxford – there is just such a wonderful world out there!”
Leslie is one of our newest residents, and as well as writing every morning, facilitates seminars with post graduate and post doctoral students, although they are open to all.
Before coming to Oxford, he was a resource at a conference centre in Cheshire. An international group came to his sessions and asked him to carry on in Oxford.
Being a historian by training, he has felt that the world today is so divided, one of the divisive figures being Jesus, who should be used as the complete opposite. Leslie wanted to give a historical understanding of Jesus. His audience has included a Chinese Marxist professor, Hindus, Muslims, all seeming very happy with their new insights.
Tony came to Abbeyfield Oxford four years ago from the London borough of Bexley to be near his sister, Ruth, living in Steeple Aston.
He lives in a two-room flat in the roof of the house, where he reports he is very comfortable.
He was brought up in the Christian faith by his parents, and for that he is ever grateful. They were interested in the Christian movement known as Moral-Rearmament (MRA) now known as Initiatives of Change, whose aim is to get people to listen to God for his plan for their lives.
Tony listens to God every morning, and as a result of His prompting has attended the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conference in Geneva for the past 16 years, meeting delegates. It is one of the oldest of the UN agencies, being founded in 1919. It is a tripartite body of government, employers and workers from virtually every nation, meeting to discuss matters affecting the world of labour, passing conventions and recommendations, which, when ratified by governments become national law. Recent conventions have been the fundamental rights of workers and the abolition of the worst excesses of child labour.
A friend asked him to become the railway correspondent for a newspaper reflecting the shopfloor views of British industry, “The Industrial Pioneer”, and he sent the paper at his own expense to all the branch secretaries of the Rail Union, the NUR (now RMT) and some in ASLEF and TSSA, followed by home visits. Later he arranged a dinner party for people in the industry with a view to encouraging the shift of freight from road to rail. It was attended by the general secretaries of the NUR and ASLEF. This has been followed by annual occasions, the latest being this month in the House of Lords. Freight on rail has increased by about 80% since rail privatisation.
Another interest has been in the annual conferences on “trust and integrity in the global economy” sponsored by Initiatives of Change in Caux, Switzerland, encouraging business ethics.
Since being at Abbeyfield Tony has much enjoyed arranging for speakers from Oxford University and locally to talk to us. We greatly look forward to shortly hearing from our MEP’s office of her work in Europe.