Care for the elderly in Northumberland.

Holly from Norma James of Corbridge visits our resident Mary for a chat

By 29th July, 2018 News Comments Off

Holly Atkinson from Norma James of Corbridge popped in for a cup of tea and a chat with our resident Mary Robson, who worked for over 30 years at the designer boutique.

Mary moved into one of our brand new ensuite rooms at Charlotte Straker House in May this year.

Mary told us how she started work at 15 at “high class tailors” Willoughby and Purvis in Fore Street in Hexham. She then moved to Kathleen Queen’s dress shop at the top of Battle Hill and then from there, she was invited to work at Norma James.

On her first day she was asked to help “dress” the window with a selection of the shop’s designs, and she did such a good job she continued to dress the window each week, for the next 30 years.

“Norma always designed the Christmas shop windows, and she dressed them beautifully, with vases of seasonal flowers”, Mary told us. “I used to choose the clothes and accessories for each week for the mannequins in the window and I loved the creativity of the job, and having the responsibility of deciding which outfits to feature and display.”

Mary obviously has a real eye for colour and design and she described her favourite outfit – a navy blue skirt from the designer Basler, paired with a neat primrose yellow jacket and blouse embroidered with matching primrose accents.

She then told us about choosing her wedding outfit in 1974.

“I really wanted a peach coloured suit, but couldn’t find anything suitable. So I went to Newcastle and walked around Binns, Fenwicks and Bainbridge’s until I suddenly saw a gorgeous navy suit – with a short skirt, a white bibbed blouse and tailored jacket. I bought it immediately, and was married in navy blue!”

Mary told us that Norma James used to regularly buy over 600 pieces from the Basler design house, and some patrons would visit the shop to buy every single item from the collection in their size, to wear in the following season. In those days, smart tweed suits were very popular, paired with matching hats and accessories.

“There were some extremely smart ladies, perfectly turned out in tailored suits. They were very stylish! I became friends with many of the society ladies from Hexham and Corbridge and used to dedicate a whole morning to helping them select outfits for the coming season.” she said.

When she left Norma James, Mary partnered with her sister, and set up her own dress shop in Heddon on the Wall, called Delmar Fashions which featured lots of outfits from Bellino and other similar designers.

Holly and Mary had a great chat about past and present customers and staff, and before she left Holly presented Mary with a £100 voucher from Norma James of Corbridge and a card with hand written best wishes from the staff.

Mary said, “I loved working with Norma, and made some great friends at the shop. I’m going to really enjoy choosing an outfit with the voucher – thank you so much to the staff at Norma James Clothing and to Holly for coming in to have a chat about the old days in Corbridge – it’s really made my day.”

Holly and Mary chatting over a cup of tea and piece of cake.


Corbridge Family Fun Day – 26th August 2018

By 16th July, 2018 Events Comments Off

This is THE event of the Summer!

The Corbridge Family Fun Day will be held on Sunday 26th August 2018 at the Corbridge Cricket Club.

It’s a FREE OF CHARGE event, and is held to benefit ourselves, our good friends Corbridge Youth-Initiative and the Corbridge Cricket Club 

Live music is provided by the very talented Callum Harbottle, plus local band Undershield and the Hexham based Rock Choir.

Last year was a huge success, with lots of visitors including local families and children who watched a great game of cricket, browsed all the stalls, tucked into afternoon tea, the BBQ and enjoyed the live music. We also raised over £2,000 (which was split between the three charities) and we hope to do even better this year.

The Corbridge Cricket Club won the 2017 Corbridge Charity Shield, but we think it might be the turn of the Charlotte Straker cricketing team in 2018…

The organisers are asking for donations of cakes and bakes for their cake stall (please drop off in the morning of 26th August at the Cricket Club) plus tombola items (please drop off at Charlotte Straker House). Thank you!

Please put the date in your diary and let your friends and family know!

Blowing bubbles in the sunshine

By 16th July, 2018 News Comments Off

Yesterday our residents were helping us blow some bubbles!

It seems a simple activity, but it helped everyone to have fun outside in the sunshine, especially those who might struggle to interact in other ways.

Some of our residents told us that it reminded them of doing exactly the same thing when they were young children, and we had a competition to see how many bubbles they could pop before they reached the ground.

We’ll certainly try out our bubble machine on another sunny day – we’re also going to use it for the next time the children from Little Tinklers nursery come to visit.

Our Community Respite Care Bed has helped over 15 families since January this year.

By 6th July, 2018 News Comments Off

In the first six months of 2018, our Community Respite Care Bed has helped over 15 Tynedale families by providing free of charge respite care to their loved ones.

As well as receiving expert care from our team of RGNs and care assistants, our respite residents have enjoyed taking part in all the crafting, gardening and musical activities that take place in our home, as well as our regular hairdresser, nail and reflexology appointments.

Ann is this week’s respite care resident. She’s shown here with one of her carers, Keith Harkiss, a Senior Care Assistant, who has worked at Charlotte Straker House for over 4 years.

Ann told me, “I was worried when I first came in, but now I’m here I’m enjoying the food and I like the people who look after me.”

Keith said “It’s all a matter of reassurance and making someone feel safe and happy to be away from home. This helps our respite residents to feel comfortable and have a relaxing stay”.

Thank you to all those who donated to fund our Community Respite Bed – it is certainly a much needed facility!

Our respite bed is now booked up to November, and we are also now taking bookings for 2019. To book or enquire after particular dates please contact Iwona Proszowska, Deputy Manager on 01434 633999 or email

Respite resident Ann with Senior Care Assistant Keith Harkiss.

Our two brand new resident rooms are now OPEN!

By 5th July, 2018 News Comments Off

We are delighted to say that the last remaining flat at Charlotte Straker House has been developed into two brand new resident rooms.

The large flat has been divided and refurbished with en-suite wet room facilities, high quality furnishings and fittings and overhead tracking.

This means that Charlotte Straker House has expanded its accommodation from 30 to 31 rooms (as one of our existing bedrooms will be turned into a much needed office).

Mary Robson moved into one of the new rooms on Saturday. Mary originally spent a week in our Community Respite Bed, and told us she liked it so much, that she decided to move in to become a full resident.

New resident Mary Robson having a cuddle with Nicola Pick, a member of our housekeeping team.

Mary told us that “I love the new room, it’s bright and airy and I’ve got all my favourite photos and things around me . The best thing is about being here is how friendly everyone is, and having a chat with my carers every day.”

Mary lived for many years on a farm in Ovingham, with her husband Mark and her family. She also worked as a sales assistant at Norma James of Corbridge, and told us she “dressed” the window display in the shop for over 30 years.

Marilyn Hunter, Manager of Charlotte Straker told us, “The whole team and I are delighted with the high quality refurbishment of these rooms. We have been looking forward to our residents moving into their new accommodation. The told us how pleased they are with the decoration and standard of fittings as well as the fact they love the new en-suite bathrooms!”

Berenice Groves, Chair of the Trustees added, “This refurbishment has been completely funded with donations. We are immensely grateful and would like to sincerely thank all our supporters whose generosity has allowed us to refurbish our new accommodation to such a high standard.”

Fish and Chips on a Sunny Day

By 5th July, 2018 Events, News Comments Off

Thank you to the Angel Fish Shop for delivering fish and chips to our residents today.

Marcia from the Fish Shop arrived with individually boxed up fish and chips which were very popular – everyone had their own order, and the fish was fresh and the chips were crisp!

Karen, our Activities Coordinator, had arranged a “beach themed” day, with pretend sandcastles, iced Pimms to drink, themed place table decorations and ice creams in a cone for dessert. She had even organised for a soundtrack of waves on a beach to accompany our takeaway lunch.

At 2pm, talented accordionist Leonard will be visiting to play some more of his wonderful music – most of our residents enjoy singing along or clapping their hands to the songs.

Thank you very much to Marcia and her team for delivering the lunches – it was a real highlight of the day!