Remarkable Leicestershire veteran praises live-in care for enabling him to live independentlyRemarkable Leicestershire veteran praises live-in care for enabling him to live independently
A 93-year-old veteran who served for 27 years in the British Army has praised his live-in carers for enabling him to live independently at home and continue his lifelong hobbies.
William (Bill) Shepherd, 93, from Leicestershire, developed dementia in later life and needed some extra support with his day-to-day activities, but wished to stay in his home rather than move into a care home. This prompted his family to get in touch with Promedica24 to provide a full-time carer to live alongside him.
Bill was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne and later moved to Thornaby on Tees where he attended school. He then joined the Green Howards – a line infantry regiment of the British Army – as a cadet in 1942 during the Second World War. He progressed quickly through the ranks and was promoted to Regimental Sergeant Major of the Cleveland Army Cadet Force in 1945 – a remarkable achievement at just 17 years old. Bill was then commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the Green Howards, aged 18, and served for 27 years with the regiment – later promoted to Major Bill Shepherd. In 1966, Bill was presented to King Olav V of Norway for his many years of service in the Green Howards, where he attended a private dinner party with his wife Amy.
During the Second World War, Bill began to collect and study stamps and developed a passion for the study of German stamps in particular. Reminiscing on the time when he started his hobby, Bill said: “I remember stumbling across a shop on one of my breaks one day, and the lady behind the counter tried to sell me the whole stand full of stamps!
“They didn’t cost much during those days and they were easy to carry with me on my travels, so it was an ideal hobby to get into.”
Bill founded the Germany and Colonies Philatelic Society in 1964, the Hinckley and District Philatelic Society in 1970, and was a member of the Hinckley-Herford Town-Twinning Association. Hinckley formed an official link with Herford in West Germany in the 1960s, and Bill played an instrumental role in the twinning of the two towns – lecturing on a wide range of subjects that were successful in enhancing mutual understanding between British and German people. In 1999, Bill received a personal commendation from the then Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Gebhardt Von Moltke, for his outstanding contribution to fostering British-German relations.
Recently, Bill was awarded Honorary Life Membership at the Germany and Colonies Philatelic Society, the highest honour that the society can bestow upon a member, for his many years of work and commitment. Having moved down to Leicestershire in 1969 with his wife Amy and children, Bill has remained an active member of the community. When he started to need some extra day-to-day support, leaving his home to relocate to a residential care facility was out of the question. Bill’s home is filled with memories – not least the hundreds of folders which he has spent years filling with newspaper cuttings, pictures and notes detailing his life experiences and achievements. Family photos fill the walls, and his office houses his collection of stamps and research into his family history – which he has traced back to the 1660s.
Bill commented: “I easily have over 200 folders, and I enjoy spending a few hours in the afternoon looking through them and keeping everything up-to-date and organised.”
With Bill’s health not what it used to be, it was important to him and his family that he could remain in the familiarity of his home alongside his memories and life’s work. Bill and his family agreed that a live-in carer would be the best option for him to remain independent and surrounded by the things he loves.
Bill commented: “I’m so happy to have two brilliant carers, Agnieszka and Marta, who live with me and help me with the things I’m unable to do.
“They give me and my family peace of mind, knowing that there is always someone here to keep an eye on me”.
Due to the pandemic, Bill hasn’t been able to attend meetings and talks at the societies he belongs to, but that hasn’t stopped him from enjoying life.
“I get on extremely well with my carers and they help me in my garden. I spend my mornings tending to it and my carers assist me with some of the tasks to keep on top of it”.
Bill is able to see a lot of his four children, who are in their 70s themselves. Bill’s daughter, Carol, mentioned that before finding Promedica24, they were always waiting for a call in the middle of the night and were constantly worried for their father’s well-being. Carol said: “Finding Promedica24 has given us all our lives back and has lifted a huge weight off our shoulders. Dad really didn’t want to leave his home, and at the age of 93, he loves having the company of the girls from Promedica24.
“He knows that they are always there for him and this gives him confidence and reassurance as they aren’t intrusive and fully respect his wishes to remain independent.”
If you would like to find out more or access our services, please visit promedica24.co.uk to use our online chat service. You can also get in touch with our team on 0800 086 8686 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to assess your care and support needs rapidly online, we have a tool available for you to do this.
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