10 Feb 2021
Caremark (Havering) highlight unseen loss to local communities.
Bal Bains, Managing Director of in-home care company Caremark (Havering) says she has learnt so much from so many of her clients over the years and this is being lost to new generations due to the restrictions of COVID19.
With the sad news of Captain Tom passing last week, it really hits home how few of these inspirational people there are left to share their stories and experience from a bygone time, being the owner of a frontline care company, Bal still gets to share the wisdom imparted from such individuals.
Bal has much to say on her visits to so many interesting people, but one in particular, Harry Bass, who they have been supporting since 2019, including after his arrival home after recovering from Coronavirus: “He is quite literally a legend; he tells me so much about his time from so long ago and recalls it with amazing accuracy, including how he left school aged 14 when World War 2 broke out in 1939”
Bal went onto say: “Harry and people like him are living history lessons, he is a true hero and it has been an honour for us at Caremark (Havering) to give him the support he requests at his home.
Harry’s story is just one of so many few remaining to tell it. At the age of 18 he was accepted into the Royal Navy, at the second attempt of trying and this was after being part of the battalion guarding the Tower of London. Ear marked for deployment into the fleet aboard HM Illustrious, he instead found himself in the service of the RAF supplying munitions and supplies for the upcoming D-Day Landings.
Bal recalls how he told her on one visit how he was sent to India in 1944 as part of the Pacific effort and they celebrated with a small party as victory in Europe was announced, before joining up with the Gurkhas and Indian Army fighting on the front line, before the Japanese finally surrendered in the August of 1945.
There was a celebration of fireworks, Harry remembers, off Colombo, which was then part of Ceylon, now Sri Lanka. However, Harry did not return to the UK until the end of September 1946.
Bal shared: “Looking around Harry’s home there are an array of photos and medals, including the Indian Medal for his service very far from home, fighting for our freedom in the Pacific Arena. It makes you feel privileged to see such photos and medals first-hand”.
In 1944, he married and fathered 4 children, worked for 40 years on Fleet Street and is now sadly widowed but he has the joy of 7 Grandchildren, 10 Great Grandchildren and 2 Great Great Grandchildren.
Bal reflected: ‘’There is so much to learn and gain from our older residents in the community. Just spending some time with them and talking about their lives enriches our own lives with history and teachings that we would otherwise be oblivious too. I have learnt much more about the War from Harry then I ever did in any history lesson. Hearing the stories first-hand and with the passion and the pride that Harry holds is not something you can get from a textbook. Every time I leave Harry’s home I feel as if I have learnt something new. Harry is a generation of true heroes and if you have the privilege of knowing someone like Harry you definitely need to make the most of it’’.
Bal enthused: “The kind of bond our care and support workers at Caremark (Havering) have with their clients is so lovely to see, they see them as companions first and clients second, which is even more important during lockdowns, to help reduce anxiety and stress induced through social isolation. They actively look forward to visiting their clients to hear more tales of their lives and spend quality time while providing the highest quality of care and support. Whether its companionship, domestic and cooking support through to personal care, medication and even full-time live-in care support services.
So many of these stories are lost from this generation to the next during the Pandemic, Harry should be sharing his story with so many, imagine putting the few remaining people who witnessed World War Two like Harry, or the recently deceased Captain Tom in front of a group of school children?
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