When the Lord Mayor of Manchester made a VIP visit to Broughton House Veteran Care Village in Salford, she was delighted to become the latest link to the care home in an unbroken chain dating back to its opening during World War One.
For Councillor Donna Ludford had on the same chains of office worn in May 1917 by Alderman Sir Thomas Smethurst when he attended a reception in his role as Lord Mayor to welcome the first resident of Broughton House, Charlie Fox.
A photograph of Alderman Smethurst and other dignitaries with Charlie hangs proudly in the museum at Broughton House to this day.
Alderman Smethurst was a key figure in the establishment of Broughton House.
In 1916, the Secretary of State for War, the Earl of Derby, asked mayors around the UK to see whether more could be done to find care homes for the war wounded.
Alderman Smethurst chaired a meeting of the East Lancashire branch of the British Red Cross Society to take action. The committee later founded Broughton House as the home of the East Lancashire Disabled Sailors and Soldiers Homes for wounded men of the north so they could be near their relatives.
Charlie Fox, from Higher Crumpsall in Manchester, was carried into the hospital on a stretcher after his legs were shattered by shellfire while serving with the 4th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps during the Second Battle of Ypres. He stayed at Broughton House until his death in 1944.
Since its opening, Broughton House has cared for more than 8,000 veterans and has recently been transformed in a £12.5m scheme into a 64-bed care home with additional independent living apartments, an array of modern facilities, a museum, a gym and an armed forces support hub.
Councillor Ludford and her Consort, Councillor Sean McHale, visited the new facility to meet with residents and staff. Their tour was led by Broughton House chief executive Karen Miller and director of care Jane Green.
“It was an honour to meet the Lord Mayor of Manchester and especially to introduce her to many of our wonderful residents and to show her around our historic museum.
“With Councillor Ludford’s predecessor playing a huge part in the opening of our home and meeting our first-ever resident, Charlie Fox, it was truly a privilege to continue this longstanding relationship between Broughton House and the Lord Mayor’s Office.”
The Lord Mayor’s chain of office and badge were made by Messrs John Hall and Co of Manchester in 1851.
Councillor Ludford said:
“It’s wonderful that for over 100 years Broughton House has provided support and care for the armed forces community across the north west. It was an honour and pleasure to meet the veterans and the staff and volunteers, and a privilege to wear the same chains of office as Alderman Smethurst did in 1917.”