The CHRISTMAS season was in full swing at The Royal Star and Garter Home in Solihull.
The charity, which cares for ex-servicemen and women and their partners living with disability or dementia, was packed with festive activities to help its residents get into the mood for Christmas.
Visitors were greeted by a massive 15ft real tree as they entered the Monkspath Hall Road Home. It was one of five real trees donated by consulting engineers Arup.
The company also supplied all the tinsel, baubles and lights to decorate each tree, as part of a £1,350 donation to mark its 50th year trading in the Midlands. Staff even came in to help decorate the trees.
The home cares for up to 60 residents, while its Star and Garter Club day care service sees another 34 use the home.
The Christmas lights were switched on in early December with the help of the Bentley Heath Choir, who sung a medley of Yuletide classics.
Widney Junior School also visited the home to sing popular Christmas songs and carols, as did the Kidderminster Male Choir.
The home also held its annual Starlight service at St Alphege Church, to celebrate the lives of people past and present linked to homes.
A Christmas tree at the church was adorned with dozens of stars, each bearing personal messages written by friends and family in memory of loved ones no longer with us.
This is just the start of the celebrations.
There was also a pantomime, festive music, games days, mince pies and mulled wine.
Christmas Day begins with a visit from Father Christmas and his elf, who deliver specially selected presents to every resident. Friends and family also gather at the home to spend the special day with their loved ones, sharing in a grand Christmas dinner, and doing the kind of things that other families do on Christmas Day, like watching TV together and playing board games.
Charlie Wilson, the activities and volunteers manager at the home, said: “All our residents get something special, and they’ll be delivered to their room by Santa with a glass of bucks fizz, and a hug.
“Then the day is very family-orientated. It’s a lovely day and much like what you would do in your own home.”
Looking ahead to 2019, the home will be celebrating Founders Day on January 14, which marks when the first 10 soldiers moved into the original Home in Richmond, London in 1916.
Armed Forces Day on June 29 is also an important day for the charity, which has spent over a century caring for the nation’s military family.
A series of events will take place in the run-up to September 1 to mark 80 years since the outbreak of the Second World War.
It will be a poignant time for many of the residents at the home, who served in the military during that conflict.