Tue 05 March 2019
Colne Housing resident Catherine Ford celebrated her 96th birthday at New Farm Lodge, Colne’s Housing for Older People in Stanway.
Mrs Ford, born in Radford, Nottingham, started off her career as a nurse caring for babies. Leaving home at just sixteen, she moved to London to study at The Salvation Army mother’s hospital. It was here that she eventually undertook training to become a midwife.
Following in her parents’ footsteps, Mrs Ford soon entered into a nine months training programme at the Salvation Army College London. She met her husband at the college and they qualified together as full-time Salvation Army Ministers in 1942. Mrs Ford commented: “It was an interesting life in the Salvation Army, it is important to care for those that are needy, people that want help”.
After her husband passed away, Mrs Ford moved to the New Farm Lodge. She describes New Farm as a “little community”. Every day from 2pm to 6pm, Mrs Ford and other residents gather in the lounge together. “Colne has been good to us”, she said. “Everyone is invited whatever we do.
Nobody in this place doesn’t know what’s going on. We’re safe here”.
At 96, Mrs Ford still continues to practice the values from her Salvation Army past and maintains that age does not define her. She only recently stopped attending the mothers and toddlers group she set up twenty years ago. She does however, “look after the oldies”, and goes to the Salvation Army Friendship Club every Wednesday.
She emphasises that her “door is always open” for other residents at New Farm. Looking back at her life, Mrs Ford commented that tolerance is key. She states that “everybody is not like you. It is according to how you treat people that will shape how they open up to you”.
Colne staff and other New Farm residents are incredibly inspired by Mrs Ford’s compassionate nature and persistent commitment to look out for others. They celebrated with a party for Mrs Ford and other New Farm residents, with food, music and plentiful cups of tea included!
Colne Tenancy Sustainment Officer, Debi McAndrew, said: “It was lovely to attend Mrs Ford’s birthday party.
Mrs Ford is hugely appreciated by Colne staff and other residents at New Farm. At 96, Mrs Ford’s positivity and motivation for life is uplifting.”
Colne is committed to resolve the housing shortage through providing homes at affordable rents, shared ownership and through sheltered residences including New Farm Lodge. Mrs Ford is a perfect example of Colne’s overarching mission to enable independent living.