Hero Harry's fantastic fundraising effort brings comfort to old folk

PUBLISHED: 11:49 07 September 2007 | UPDATED: 14:37 07 September 2010

Harry at the St john's Wood home

Harry at the St john's Wood home

By Susanna Wilkey A MAN fighting cancer has raised a staggering £120,000 to give an old people s home in St John s Wood a new kitchen and lounge. Harry Montagu, 80, has been a friend of Greathed Lodge on Abbey Road for more than 40 years. While going thro

By Susanna Wilkey

A MAN fighting cancer has raised a staggering £120,000 to give an old people's home in St John's Wood a new kitchen and lounge.

Harry Montagu, 80, has been a friend of Greathed Lodge on Abbey Road for more than 40 years.

While going through several rounds of chemotherapy for lymphoma (blood cancer), he managed to secure the grants to get the cash for the much-needed refurbishments.

The care home had an open day on Tuesday and the Lord Mayor of Westminster Carolyn Keen unveiled the plaques that officially opened the new rooms.

Mr Montagu said: "The generous donations of Gemma Clive and Joanna Peppiatt of Turville Books and Tim Simon of the Pidem Fund made this all possible.

"The care in this home is much better than I have ever seen. The friends of the lodge try to do everything we can for the residents.

"Last week we had a recital by famous pianist Stephen Hough, which was fantastic."

Phil Reed is the marketing and development director for Elizabeth Finn Care, which runs the home. He said:"He raised the money all by himself while fighting cancer and he really was instrumental. He also comes in to help all the time with things like getting people's shopping which helps so much."

Elizabeth Finn Care is a charity that helps people of all ages living in poverty.

A new computer system is being pioneered in the home to enable older people to use the technology.

It is the first of its kind in the country and is being developed by manufacturers in conjunction with the care home. It has a keyboard with very large keys, a large mouse and a touch screen so older people can access the internet and email.

Mr Reed said: "It is not that older people don't understand the technology, but it is the application of it that can be difficult for them. For example if they have arthritis it is hard for them to use the keyboard.

"The residents here are very quick at learning. One 87-year-old was on the email within two minutes.

"We are endeavouring to deliver excellence in every way and the computer is a demonstration of that. The aim of this day is also to try to integrate with the local community here and make our presence known."

The home caters for 28 residents and they provide outings and activities, including arts and crafts, music and even a karaoke machine.

Resident Barbara Osborne said: "I am very happy living here. I have been here for two years and we are very well looked after and it is a very good place.

"We have wonderful carers and there is always a lot going on around the place - it is always alive, but privacy is also respected."

Gillian Hudson, manager of the care home, said: "It was a great honour to welcome the Lord Mayor to Greathed Lodge.

"We are a significant member of the north London community, in the work that we do, and the Lord Mayor's visit enabled us to show her a little of the many features of Greathed Lodge and some of the excellent services we provide for our residents."

Last year the charity gave £2million in grants to individuals, which funded daily essentials from new cookers, weekly allowances for food, to building work on people's homes.

o For more information on the charity visit www.elizabethfinncare.org.uk.

susanna.wilkey@hamhigh.co.uk

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