TV personality Gloria Hunniford and Colchester United legend Bobby Hunt praised the work of a care home as its celebrated its fifth birthday.

The VIP pair opened up about their experiences of dementia and Alzheimer’s in a bid to further raise the profile of Foxburrow Grange, in Ypres Road.

They were joined by Colchester’s Mayor and Mayoress Peter and Ann Chillingworth, Piotr Rejek, chief executive of Outlook Care, which run the home, and chairman of trustees, Steve Marsh, plus 150 residents, relatives, staff and community partners.

Natelie Bessey, assistant director of operations and business development, who attended the celebration, said: “We couldn’t have asked for anything better.

“It was as if you had every person and every special story that had made a difference in people’s lives over the past five years.

“I wish we’d video recorded it as we captured it all within the open mic session we had when everyone had a few minutes to speak about their experiences. It was really emotional.

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Gloria with Kali Thapa Magar and Manjula Curung 

“Gloria spoke about her personal experience of her sister, Lena, who ended up living in a care home because of dementia, and how difficult it was.

“But she was also quite a comedienne and brought some laughter too.

“Meeting staff around the home, she told them how dedicated they were and what a great job they were doing.”

The theme of the day was wellbeing through partnership as a way to thank Foxburrow Grange’s scores of partners which include the Prince’s Trust, Essex Cares, Colchester United, businesses, entertainers, dementia action groups, nurses, therapists, and many more.

Without them the home would not be able to achieve all the great things it does, Natelie said.

She added that continued support is necessary for Foxburrow Grange to raise its profile within Colchester, and to forge better connections with potentially vulnerable people.

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Peggy Burtonshaw and the TV star

She said: “It’s hugely important for us to reach out to our communities because we don’t know who’s out there.

“There’s people who feel quite isolated, family carers who feel they have nobody to talk to, and we have something quite brilliant here.

“They don’t need to move in but they can be part of it, and it’s free.”

Five years ago it was friend of Gloria’s, TV icon Angela Rippon, who opened the home.

In the care industry a lot of changes have took place even within such a short time. Natelie said: “Over the years, quite rightly, people want the absolute best service in every possible way .

“In terms of strategies and information shared with us from the council, it tells us there’s a definite increase in need.

“More and more people are living longer and requiring person-centered care.”