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Beyond Housing tenant’s birthday medal surprise

Beyond Housing Scarborough tenant Christopher Bell celebrated his 75th birthday in style, with a surprise party with family and friends and a totally unexpected presentation from the Mayor of Scarborough.

Christopher is a former soldier, having served with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) for almost 11 years, plus a further 23 years in the reserves, but he had never received the Armed Forces Veterans Badge, which he is entitled to wear.

However, a chance chat at a pre-Christmas decorating event at his local residents’ community centre was all it took to spark a chain of conversations that led to Christopher receiving his well-deserved badge from Scarborough Mayor, Councillor Joe Plant.

Beyond Housing staff had joined with friends from local groups including Scarborough & Ryedale Carers Resource, Co-op Funeral Care and the local branch of the Firstlight Trust to bring a little festive cheer to the community centre as part of their annual “Deck the Halls” scheme. When Sally Clarke from the Firstlight Trust learned from Christopher that he didn’t have a Veteran’s Badge the news soon reached Royal British Legion branch President John Anderson who wasted no time in processing an application on his behalf.

As Christopher visits the friendly day care centre at Scarborough’s Orchard House a couple of times each week the venue was chosen as the ideal spot for his 75th birthday party, with the Mayor coming along as a special guest in order to present his badge.

Orchard House owner June Stephenson said: “Christopher is a popular visitor to our centre, he comes along regularly and enjoys the social environment with our staff and his friends. It was a real pleasure for us to host this very special party for him”.

“This has been brilliant,” Christopher added, “It’s a total surprise, I had absolutely no idea!”

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