Two residents from different care homes have met for the first time having spent the last five months writing letters to each other.
69-year-old, Jacqueline Raymond from Franklin House in West Drayton, and 75-year-old, Peter Lipscome, from Oak House in Slough, have sparked a new friendship through a pen pal programme which has been set up across a number of Care UK homes.
Jacqueline was born in Hillingdon in 1948 and lived with her late husband, also named Peter, and her five children, Gary, Darren, Neville, Terry and Patina. Jacqueline and Peter went onto have 14 grandchildren and six great grandchildren, who regularly visit her at Franklin House.
Peter has lived at Oak House since 2013, having spent most of his life at his parent’s home in Langley. Over his lifetime, Peter has worked in various places including scrapyards and warehouses, but his real passion is carpentry, in particular making dolls houses – he even presented a dolls house to the Queen and Prince Phillip.
The two residents signed up to Care UK’s new pen pal initiative at the start of the year, and having reviewed a number of other resident profiles, chose each other for the project and have been writing regular letters to one another ever since.
The friends met for the first time at an open day held at Franklin House, where they were able to discuss their hobbies and interests over afternoon tea.
During their visit the pair also had the opportunity to meet Deputy Mayor of Hillingdon, Cllr. John Morgan, and Deputy Mayor Escort, Mrs Pauline Bianca who attended the open day – something which Peter was particularly excited about.
Speaking about the new scheme and friendship with Peter, Jacqueline said: “After reading profiles from lots of potential pals, I chose Peter. It’s nice receiving letters from him, he tells me about his life and I share mine with him. It’s nice to have someone different to talk to and plan trips with.”
Peter added: “I don’t often receive mail so I look forward to Jackie’s letters where we share our interests and stories. I was so excited for us to finally meet, as previously we had just sent photos to one another. We had a great day catching up and I am already looking forward to the next visit.”
Mathew V Mathew, home manager at Franklin House said: “Our pen pal programme is open to residents in Care UK homes across the country and it is so lovely that one of the success stories of the project is on our doorstep.
“We were delighted to have been able to host Jackie and Peter’s first meeting and it couldn’t have gone better. The pair seem to have sparked a genuine friendship which is lovely to see and we hope to organise more trips for them both in the near future.”
When asked for a piece of advice for anyone thinking of writing to a pen pal of their own, Peter commented: “Just take a chance” with Jacqueline echoing: “Give it a go, you might develop a new friendship.”