PLANNING for weeks and trying to keep the organising secret paid off for Sharon Richards on Tuesday, July 18.

Sharon, who has worked in the same care home for 25 years, had no idea when she went in to work on Tuesday morning last week, July 11 what was in store for her. 

“It was the usual beginning in the morning, then all the owners turned up and I knew something was going on, but didn’t realise it was for me,” she said. 

Sharon started at Treelands Residential Care Home near Tedburn St Mary, as a Night Carer, then a Day Carer, then Assistant Manager and now Manager of the Home. 

She obtained formal qualifications along the way and holds a Residential Manager’s Award. 

Staff and residents had gathered in one of the big lounges to present Sharon with flowers, a weekend away, a box full of messages from staff who could not be there, cards and other gifts, much to her overwhelmed surprise.

An amazing three-layer cake had been baked and iced by Deputy Manager Sheila Gorfin, cut by Sharon and shared.  

She had seen so many changes, what about winter weather and getting to work?   They managed to get in through floods or snow, those with 4x4 vehicles went off to bring in others who were stuck.  

Sharon added: “But covid was the worst because I had no control over it.”  Tony said: “People came in during covid having to wash and dress and mask once they got here and then going home do it all in reverse, never knowing if they were taking it home.  Staff were regularly checked.” 

He added that Sharon had been at Treelands for every Christmas Day for years.  Sharon added that her husband would be doing the cooking at home for when she got back.  

Tony said he had enjoyed every day he had been at Treelands “every single one”.

Sharon lives in Exeter and had worked in a care home in Exeter before joining Treelands.  One of the residents of Treelands who she knew had said why not go out there, so she did.  

Treelands was designed and built by Tony and Ives Jordan, who live nearby, in 1989, first registered in 1992.  It is set in five acres, Tony has extended it, all to his own design, and it still growing.