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Trip down memory lane fulfills wish of 101-year-old Lily

A chauffeur-driven trip around Norfolk brought a lifetime of memories flooding back for 101-year-old Lily Barnes.

It was the dear wish of Mrs Barnes to pay one last visit to her childhood home, the church where she wed as a 16-year-old and the village house where she brought up her own family.

Staff at Heron Lodge Nursing Home, in Wroxham, were determined to make it happen for their oldest resident but had to wait until the coronavirus lockdown was over.

Her big day on Tuesday <18th Aug> was shared with Heron Lodge nursing home wellbeing coordinator Karen Spinks, senior support worker Lorraine Lawrence and Kingsley Healthcare chauffeur Simon Boxby.

The idea for the trip came about after Mrs Barnes discovered Mrs Spinks lived in Hevingham – the village where she grew up and got married.

Their first stop was Blofield to see the house Mrs Barnes last lived in prior to moving into Heron Lodge.

She and her late husband William moved to the house in January 1939 when it was newly built and she continued to live there for 80-and-a-half years.

During that time, she raised her own family there and saw the fifth generation of her family come into her life.

It was a poignant moment for Mrs Barnes as the house has now been put on the market, but she takes solace from the fact it can now provide another family a lifetime of memories.

The journey moved on to Hevingham where she lived as a child and married William Barnes in St Mary the Virgin Church on July 20, 1935.

Mrs Spinks said: “Lily told me, ‘As I walked out here a married girl of 16, I didn’t know what life would bring me, but it’s been a happy life’.’’

When she saw the village primary school, she remarked: “Well, this ain’t changed a bit. Still looks like it did all them years ago.’’

She told Mrs Spinks the story about a boy in the village she used to date. He was a popular boy, but she dumped him when she realised he was sneakily eating Bluebird toffees out of his pocket and didn’t care to share them with her.

The last stop on the journey was at the house down The Turn, in Hevingham, where Mrs Barnes lived with her mother and father.

Mrs Spinks said: “She remembers the day they moved in and the names of all of the people in the surrounding houses. She was a little overwhelmed at the number of houses there now compared with all those years ago.”

She said Lily had enjoyed a very emotional day, remembering and reminiscing about things, people and places she never thought she would see again.

“She often told me during chats at the home she was heartbroken she would never get to see it all again but was so very thankful to all who helped arrange a perfect day for her to go and relive her wonderful memories of a happy long life,” said Mrs Spinks.

“Completing this journey with Lily, from discovering we had the village in common, to a Google Earth virtual walk round we did during the lockdown to finally being able to make her dream come true is so rewarding.”


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