Older people at Devonport House in Rye celebrated 30 years since the Queen Mother opened their retirement housing site with a party for friends, family and local people on Friday 8 June.
Deputy Mayor, Councillor Berni Fiddimore opened the tea party in the communal lounge at the Sussex Housing & Care owned property and said: “I’m delighted to come along to mark Devonport House’s 30th anniversary. Housing for older people in our small town is essential, and it’s comforting and stimulating for older people to be able to stay in their local, tight knit community where they’ve lived for years and have their family and friends around them.”
Guests were able to view a range of photographs from the Queen Mother’s visit, including the signed guest book. Residents marked the occasion by organising a Queen Mother’s cake and knitting a teddy bear in the jubilee red, white and blue colours.
Keen knitter and resident Grace Mcarthy said: “I like getting together like this, it’s such fun seeing everyone from the community and celebrating with a cup of tea and a good natter. I really enjoy living here, the people are lovely and Devonport has a great atmosphere.”
Guest, Councillor Jo Kirkham gave an interesting talk about the history of Rye, where she explained how Rye began its days as an island with the location of Devonport House as the sea side. By the mid-1200’s an embankment was built and Devonport became a moat, from Landgate around to the Strand.
Councillor Kirkham then continued to explain the harrowing love story of Friar and Amanda which led to the naming of Turkeycock Lane. The lovers fell for each other in Landgate but were tragically walled up alive as a punishment for their forbidden love. A historical tale which leaves residents of Rye listening to the ghostly wails of the lovers, that sound like the call of a guinea foul or Turkey Cock. Councillor Kirkham who also attended the opening in 1982 and met the Queen Mother, said: “It was a lovely day, we were all gathered and the Queen Mother was delighted and very interested to be opening Devonport House. She visited some of the apartments and spoke to residents. It’s great that Devonport House is still going strong and providing wonderful facilities for older people in Rye.”
Originating as an old house that stood tall in the dip of Rye, Devonport House was derelict until 1979, the year that Councillor Kirkham became Mayor. The old part of the house was demolished and rebuilt for its grand opening with the Queen Mother in 1982
. Ryes Own July 2012
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