The specialist dementia care team at Care UK's new Maplestead day centre recently arranged a visit back to his old fire station for their first-ever day club member.

Maurice Norman, who worked at Halstead Fire Station for 31 years had not returned to visit his former colleagues since retiring in 1981.

During the visit, Mr Norman met Watch Manager Peter Robertson, who he had mentored as a young fireman, as well as fellowed retired firefighters Dennis Bryant and Derek Fletcher and members of the current crew.

Despite having memory lapses due to his mental health condition, Mr Norman "would regularly tell the day club's staff, with great pride, about his years of service and his special colleagues.

Maplestead Manager, Catherine Anderson-Mills explained: "Mr Norman was our first day club member and we wanted to do everything we could to help him settle in at Maplestead and to make him feel special."

"We like to encourage all our club members to keep up with their friendships and their interests and we will do what we can to help them do the things they are interested in.

"When people are active and engaged in things they enjoy, they keep their life-skills and confidence and this helps them to stay independent and remain part of their communities."

For both Mr Norman and his successor Mr Robertson, the visit proved a very rewarding occassion.

Eighty-eight-year-old Mr Norman said "Seeing the old place brought back so many memories; me and the boys saw some terrible things when we were fighting fires, but we always tried to have a laugh at the end of the shift."

While Watch Manager Robertson added: "It was so heart-warming to have Maurice back with us here and it has brought back so many memories. You just can't beat the old way we did things; we've lost a lot of firefighter friends along the way and it was nice to see all the boys back together."

The Maplestead team will be celebrating National Carers Week by inviting friends and relatives, who care for people with dementia in the Halstead area, to drop in to the day club centre in Dame Mary Walk for a cup of tea and a chat between 4-7pm on Tuesday 19th June.

Catherine said: "Caring for a loved one with dementia is both challenging and rewarding. It helps to be able to talk to people who have similar experience and share ideas as well as having a good talk and a laugh."

For more information on the new Malpstead centre visit 

Posted 14/06/2012 - this article first appeared on our sister site by (picture L to R: retired firemen Dennis Bryant and Maurice Norman, Officer in Charge Peter Robertson and retired fireman Derek Fletcher)