Residents and staff at Scarbrough Court in Northumberland, are among those marking Remembrance Day safely at home.
Among them is, 107 year old Joe Dixon, a former firefighter, who served in RAF Bomber Command in WWII. He is calling on the community to make time to remember those who lost their lives and to “stay strong and stick together” to get through lockdown.
Showing their support and respect, residents and staff have decorated the Home with poppies and are raising funds for The Royal British Legion. A special Remembrance display has been created by carers on the night shift, which includes some beautiful poppies made out of the bottoms of painted plastic bottles.
Joe Dixon, was born in Walker, Newcastle, in 1913, a year before the first World War had even begun. He left school at just 12 years old to work at the local butcher’s shop. In 1937, he joined the fire brigade in Newcastle upon Tyne and worked his way up to eventually be promoted to sub-officer.
At the height of World War II in 1943, Joe, aged 29, and three of his fire department colleagues, bravely volunteered to join RAF Bomber Command, answering an urgent call from the Government.
During my time in the fire service, a message came into my work requesting air crew for the RAF. I got given the title of the Flight Attendant Engineer. I had two other crew members who sadly did not return from the war.
Everyone was so happy when the war was over, I can still remember seeing my wife and son waiting at the station to greet me, smiling. There was a huge parade in the city.
After the war, Joe returned to work at Headlam Street Fire Station and discovered that the colleagues who had volunteered with him had not made it home. Joe retired from the fire brigade in 1964, after 27 years of service.
On his 100th birthday Joe was a special guest at the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service headquarters where he was presented with specially engraved medal by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle at that time, Councillor Margaret Wood.
I feel very proud of The Royal British Legion and being part of it. It is very important that we remember, and youngsters should be taught about the atrocities that happened during the war and it should be a part of history that is taught to all.
He also had this message of hope for younger generations regarding the pandemic:
We are all going through hard times with the current situation, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel , we must stay strong and stick together.
Activities Co-ordinator, Stacey Hunter, said:
Our residents are of a generation who have been directly affected by the terrible loss suffered during two World Wars, so Remembrance Day is of great significance to our Home. Even in these challenging times, it is important that we enable our residents to take part and join them in paying our respects. It’s a privilege to care for Joe at our Home.