Centenarians cast election votes

Two centenarians at a Braintree care home have cast their postal votes for the General Election, thanks to the support of carers and staff.

Administrator Sarah Matthews ensured all residents at The New Deanery had the opportunity to vote, even though most did not wish to brave the cold to visit their polling station. She even made a ballot box so residents could post their own voting envelopes, before ensuring they were posted in time.

Betty Lodge and Dora Hardy, both aged 100, were the oldest residents casting their votes. Both first voted immediately after the Second World War in the July 1945 General Election won unexpectedly by Clement Attlee’s Labour Party and have voted in every election since.

Betty Lodge says: “If we didn’t vote, Parliament wouldn’t exist.”

Sarah Matthews adds: “I think it’s important that everyone has the opportunity to vote and it’s been a pleasure seeing how involved the residents are in the different aspects of this election.”

Sonnet Care Homes activities manager Jo Whitehouse says: “Sarah has done a fantastic job checking with all the residents to ensure they have the opportunity to vote. She arranged 33 postal votes and ensured they were posted on time via her specially made ballot box, which was completely full.

“We will be taking a couple of residents to the polling station in our minibus, but most opted for a postal vote or arranged a proxy vote with their families. It’s important to us to give them as much independence and choice as possible.”