Curphey Home – A Haven for Ex-Servicemen and Women

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Wilbert Taylor (seated), who is 75 years old, and served in the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) for over 30 years, is being attended to by trainee nurse from the Northern Caribbean University (NCU), Shanique Segree (right), at the Curphey Home, in Manchester. Others (from left) are: Manager at the Home, Clifton Irwin; Chairman of the Local Management Committee of the Home, Christine Senior; Vice Chairman, Major Sheffer Birthright, and student nurses, Shevene Fearon and Nickalia Francis.

Story Highlights

  • The Curphey Home in Manchester, since 1957, has been a haven for ex-servicemen and women, providing care and protection for the veterans.
  • Mrs. Senior, who is the only female on the eight-member Board, says her work is a voluntary one, and she is giving back to her country in honour of her parents. Her mother, Dorothy Peart, volunteered as secretary at the Home for many years, while her father, Earnest Peart, served as a soldier in World War Two.
  • The nation will, on Sunday, November 12, honour the memory of the fallen servicemen and servicewomen of World Wars I and II at the annual Remembrance Day ceremony, which will be held at National Heroes Park in Kingston. Ceremonies will also be held islandwide.

The Curphey Home in Manchester, since 1957, has been a haven for ex-servicemen and women, providing care and protection for the veterans.

On any given day, scores of civic minded persons can be seen journeying to the Home, located in the quiet community of Newport, to offer various gifts, entertainment and spiritual counselling to the 13 residents – 12 males and one female – ranging from 60 to 92 years of age.

Chairman of the Local Management Committee of the Home, Christine Senior, says among the residents are persons who served in World War Two, as well as former members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).

She explains that the facility is run from donations, mainly the Annual Poppy Appeal, and a subvention from the Government.

The Chairman tells JIS News that the veterans experience hard times or “they just need assistance, so they come to the Home and we look after them.”

She says the veterans have served their country well and they deserve all the care and assistance, and more persons should help.

“You can come to the Home and spend time with them. They enjoy the company, you can play games with them and read to them. We welcome service clubs, schools, business places, and persons who would like to adopt the Home,” the Chairman tells JIS News.

Mrs. Senior, who is the only female on the eight-member Board, says her work is a voluntary one, and she is giving back to her country in honour of her parents. Her mother, Dorothy Peart, volunteered as secretary at the Home for many years, while her father, Earnest Peart, served as a soldier in World War Two.

Recently the National Housing Trust (NHT) spearheaded a restoration project for the Home, which included the addition of rooms, new bathrooms, renovation of recreational spaces and improving the general structure of the building. The makeover increased the Home’s capacity to accommodate 35 persons.

“It was very good, and we really appreciate it…extending our accommodation to take in more people,” says Manager of the Home, Clifton Irwin.

Mr. Irwin tells JIS News that there are plans to begin growing cash crops and they are seeking help in this endeavour. The Home also operates a small poultry farm.

Veteran, Aston Senior, 91 years old, says he remembers his time in England as a Duty Equipment Assistant during World War Two.

“If war is good we would not return to peace,” he says, as he applauds Jamaica for staying on the side of peace-loving countries.

“We are a peaceful country, naturally so, but we have to abide by rules. We pray that we may continue in peace, but if there should be war, and we are part of it, let us trust in God,” he reasons.

Another veteran, 75 year-old Wilbert Taylor, who served in the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) for over 30 years, says the army contributes to social stability and more young persons should seek careers in the JDF.

Mr. Taylor, who is wheelchair bound, due to a stroke he suffered 15 years ago, has high praise for the care provided by the staff at Curphey Home.

He also lauds individuals and groups who make regular visits to the Home, including a doctor who sees them every month.

The Home was established by the Jamaica Legion and named after the late Colonel Sir Aldington Curphey, one of the founders of the Legion in Jamaica.

Chairman of the Benevolence Committee of the Jamaica Legion, Ronald Wilson, says wherever ex-service members are they seek to know their status, and “offer them some level of dignity in the remaining period of their lives.”

Persons wishing to offer support can reach the organization at 926-2381, or at: jamaicalegion@hotmail.com.

Trainee nurses from Northern Caribbean University (NCU) are regular visitors to the Home, and for Shanique Segree, the opportunity provides her with a “feeling” of the nursing profession and what it is like dealing with the aged.

She says her group has learnt a lot from talking with the residents, and “they want to talk with people.”

“They have given so much to the country, so it would be good to come and show them respect and appreciation for what they have done for us; to let them know that we care about them,” Miss Segree tells JIS News.

Another student nurse, Shevene Fearon, says the experience at the Home will add to her becoming a “good nurse.”

“It is very important to be patient with persons in your care. Young people coming here will have more appreciation of themselves by what they can learn from the residents,” Miss Fearon tells JIS News.

The nation will, on Sunday, November 12, honour the memory of the fallen servicemen and servicewomen of World Wars I and II at the annual Remembrance Day ceremony, which will be held at National Heroes Park in Kingston. Ceremonies will also be held islandwide.

Traditionally, Remembrance Day is observed on the second Sunday in November and its primary purpose is to celebrate those who gave their service and ultimately their lives in World Wars I and II.

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