Cotman House Resident, Bill, Celebrates The Big ‘99’ With Poetic Reflections

21st May 2024

Bill, a beloved resident at Cotman House Care Home, has proved that age is no barrier to creativity and inspiration by celebrating his 99th birthday with a witty, poignant poem to mark becoming "99 years young.”

From an Essex Childhood to Wartime Naval Missions

Born on 23rd April 1925, Bill grew up in an old farmhouse in Walthamstow, Essex, which came with 7 acres, although his family weren’t farmers and didn’t farm the land. The closest they came to ‘farming’ was when Bill was 8 and his mum bought him a goat from a weekly market they used to go to. She thought it funny that his nickname was ‘Billy the Kid’, and she’d bought him a ‘kid’!

World War 2 broke out when Bill was 16 and the following year during the Blitz, the roof and and front door were blown off their house. He and his family lived for a time in in a bomb shelter and Bill would go out with his friends in the morning looking for bits of shells, often finding them when they were still hot. Not surprisingly, Bill’s mum decided to evacuate the family, and they moved to Wickford in Essex, then soon afterwards, to Colchester.

To Suffolk and Back Again – via Scotland

When he was 17, Bill joined the Royal Navy and trained in Suffolk, then Ipswich, Shotley and Felixstowe. Bill’s mum moved the family to Felixstowe, and they settled there. During the War, Bill was involved in sailing convoys of weapons to Russia to help in the war against Germany and was trained to use torpedoes and a special secret anti-submarine weapon called ‘Squid’. Bill also trained as an electrician.

Bill left the Navy, aged 22, married a Scottish girl and moved to Lenzie in Scotland. He successfully applied for a job at a power station, thanks to his Navy training as an electrician, and by the end of his career, Bill headed up the Scottish electricity board.

When his brother was very ill a few years ago, Bill came back to Felixstowe to be closer to him. Having returned to the area he knew so well, Cotman House was the natural choice when Bill himself needed some extra support. Since moving in, Bill has brought his unique personality to the Cotman community. His love of music, especially from the 80’s, is known to all and everybody dances past his room when they hear the tunes emerging in the morning. He was a DJ at his local bowls club, alongside being club president, but his lifelong hobby was less obvious.

A Lifelong Love of Poetry Going Strong at 99

Bill has always loved poetry and wrote his first poem when he was 8 years old about a goat, yes – the goat! Sadly, all the poems that he’d left with his mum were lost in the great Felixstowe floods in 1953, so he has had to try to remember and rewrite them.

When it came to marking his 99th, alongside sharing a Victoria sponge cake (his favourite), and opening tons of cards, Bill inevitably composed a poem. Titled "Bill’s reflections on 99," it is a candid reflection on the passage of time and how as we get older, memories are often what we treasure the most. Bill’s long life has certainly been eventful and continues to be lived to the full.

Kirsty Allen, Manager at Cotman House Care Home, spoke fondly of Bill's poetic talents and the joy he brings to the community. "Bill is a true inspiration to us all. His love for poetry and his zest for life are infectious, and we are privileged to have him as part of our Cotman House family”. Bill’s contribution to Cotman House also extends to his role as Resident Ambassador, where he represents the residents, filters ideas through to the Cotman team and generally gets involved in what’s going on at the home – including recently helping Kirsty to update the artwork in the corridor.

Through his words, and his attitude to life, Bill reminds us all that age is just number, and that the true measure of a life well-lived is in the joy, love, and laughter we share with others along the way.

Discover Cotman House

Cotman House Care Home is situated within the beautiful seaside surroundings of Felixstowe and our environment is matched by the standard of care we deliver, where care is not just a service, but a commitment tailored to every resident. Our focus goes beyond the physical; we extend our care to encompass the unique needs of each individual, whether it's assisting with memory loss, providing specialised dementia care, or offering support with end-of-life care.

At Cotman House, we understand the challenges families face during difficult times, and that's why we take pride in our accreditation for 'End of Life' care. We're here to support not only your loved ones but your entire family through this journey.

Our vibrant and happy home isn't just about the physical space; it's a thriving community. Perfect for those who may be feeling lonely, Cotman House fosters an environment where residents find companionship and joy.

Bill's Poem
Young Bill in the Navy

Any questions?
Call us free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Last year we helped over 5,000 families find the right care with free advice on anything from funding care to finding the right home and moving in.

We can help with advice on paying for care and how funding works. We can check availability in all of our homes and send you the latest brochure. If you'd like to meet our Home Manager, we'll book an appointment at a time to suit you.

0808 169 8661 Freephone
Enquire now 0808 169 8661