Ashfields Care Home in Norwich held a special medal presentation ceremony for 95 year old resident, John Frew, during which Sargent Major Rushton of the Royal Anglian Regiment presented him with a medal for his contributions to the war and honoured him with a new title - the rank of Chevalier (Knight) of the French army, Ordre National De La Legion D’honneur (National Order of the Legion of Honor).
The ceremony came about after his son Dennis Frew told Ben Rogers, general manager at Ashfields, that his father had received a letter that Frew was to be honoured for his contribution to the war. Frew had fought the 5th Seaforth 51st Highland Division and in the D-Day landing at Normandy, across France, Belgium and Germany.
On the 29 September, Sargent Major Rushton of the Royal Anglian Regiment presented the medals to Frew in front of all of his family and friends from the home. They were joined by members of the local community including the Sea Cadets, members of the Help for Heroes charity, and children from the local school, who provided a signed photo to congratulate him on the medal.
The care team at the home went all out for the event by dressing up in costumes from the 1940s, and sang and danced along to a Vera Lyn tribute act. The hospitality team served a buffet of treats as the activities team screened a DVD that featured footage from the 51st Division that Frew featured in.
At the ceremony, Sargent Major Rushton, remarked: "I was extremely privileged to be asked to present John with his medal. I have huge respect for my colleagues and all the ex-servicemen who have put their lives on the line for their country and have shown great courage and camaraderie."
Frew has lived at Ashfield’s Care Home, run by Barchester Healthcare, since May of this year and was very humbled by the gesture made. Pete Calveley, CEO of Barchester Healthcare, also wrote a touching letter to him and his family which expressed the honour of having such a distinguished soldier as part of the Barchester family.
After receiving his medal, Frew said: “I don’t really know what to say. I am honoured and I hope to enjoy the next few years to come.”
Ben Rogers, general manager at Ashfield’s said: “Here at our home we think it is important to celebrate the life and work of our residents before they chose to live at Ashfields, and we love to find opportunities where we can celebrate with them. We encourage life stories to be passed on to help us get to know each and every individual.”