Thursday, 18 October 2012


On Thursday 4th October 2012, Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra was invited to the ‘topping out’ ceremony of the new Royal Star & Garter Home in Surbiton. The Princess was met by Vice Admiral Sir John Dunt, Chairman of Governors and the Mayor of Kingston upon Thames, Cllr Mary Heathcote.

HRH Princess Alexandra is the President of the Charity and was invited to carry out the traditional Saxon ritual of anointing a Yew tree branch attached to the building’s ‘last roof beam’ with wine, oil, corn and salt symbolising wisdom, liberty, prosperity and hospitality. This ceremony is traditionally held when the highest point of a new building has been constructed and therefore represents a significant milestone in the Home’s construction.

The Home will provide specialist nursing care for 37 residents and specialist dementia care for a further 26 residents. The new state-of-the-art home is located in a pleasant residential area, only five miles from the Charity’s current home in Richmond.

The Home is being constructed by leading construction and infrastructure company, Morgan Sindall and is due to be completed in the summer of 2013.

Guests included Mr John Graham, Deputy Director General, Finance, from The Royal British Legion, which has most generously made a £2.05 million gift towards the specialist dementia care facility, and Mr Philip Wiles, Head of Housing and Care Services, from The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, which has most generously made a gift of £2 million for the Charity’s building projects, £700,000 of which will go towards the overall construction in Surbiton. The Royal Star & Garter Homes is most grateful for these gifts.

Mike Barter, Chief Executive of The Royal Star & Garter Homes, said: ‘It is exciting to see that only six months after we held the ‘turning of the first turf’ ceremony, the basic structure of this building is nearing completion. When the Home opens to residents next summer we will be able to deliver The Royal Star & Garter Homes special brand of care to our deserving disabled ex-Service men and women in high quality state-of-the-art surroundings.’

Sue Freeth, Director Operations, The Royal British Legion, said: “We’re pleased to be supporting the new Royal Star and Garter Home. The Legion is committed to helping veterans of all ages live independently – and with dignity. The UK’s ageing population means cases of dementia will, unfortunately, only increase, and the need for dementia care with them. The Legion’s Admiral Nurse service offers support to family members of those suffering with dementia and we expect The Royal Star and Garter Homes new dementia facility alongside our existing services to be a valuable resource for Armed Forces families over the coming years.” 

Mr Philip Wiles, Head of Housing and Care Services, from The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, said: ‘The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund has supported The Royal Star & Garter Homes for many years and we are delighted to be able to continue playing a significant part in enabling high quality care for RAF veterans and their spouses.’

David Sershall, Area Director for Morgan Sindall, said: “A topping-out is similar to a ship-naming ceremony, an age-old ritual designed to shield the ship from harm. In our case, the ceremony marks a significant milestone in the construction of this development, which will provide an outstanding care home for those who have proudly served our nation.”

Ciara Hardman
Marketing & Communications
The Royal Star & Garter Homes
Richmond Hill, Richmond, Surrey TW10 6RR
Tel: 020 8439 8118
Registered Charity No. 210119