St Mary's Court Care Home, Braintree, Essex

This section of our website is dedicated to the latest news stories from St Mary’s Court residential care home in Braintree, Essex, including reports and photos about events we have organised for residents, how our care home in Braintree is performing, and more.

World War II hero celebrates 100th birthday by meeting great-great-grandnephew for the first time

By 25th March 2021

A Women’s Auxiliary Air Force veteran who fixed Spitfires and raised barrage balloons during the blitz has met her great-great-grandnephew for the first time to celebrate her 100th birthday.

Kitty Taylor was able to meet seven-month-old Rupert Marshall through a Covid-secure screen and reminisce about her incredible life with two of her nephews at St Mary’s Court care home in Braintree after more than a year of restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kraig Donald said:

“My auntie’s an amazing woman who has seen so much over 100 years. Although she has developed dementia, she remembers much about World War II and the vital role she played.”

Kitty was born and raised in West London and was 19 when war broke out. She joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force upon its formation and was assigned to raise barrage balloons over Borough High Street to stop the advance of German bombers during the blitz.

Kraig said: “She remembers vividly running across London Bridge during an air raid as flak rained down over the city. During the day, she’d be on the rooftops spotting for planes. She’s an incredibly brave woman.”

Kitty was transferred to Liverpool to train other women in barrage defences during the Liverpool Blitz and became recognised for her technical skills, so was sent to Oxford to help fix Spitfire and Mosquito aircraft for the rest of the war.

Kraig said: “She’s always been a little annoyed that the women of the WAAF didn’t receive medals or recognition for their hard work, but she was so proud to have served her country.”

Kitty travelled all over the world after the war, including to Germany to lament over the devastation, and worked in the Putney Telephone Exchange until her retirement in the 1980s. She then moved to Sible Hedingham, Essex, with her husband William Taylor to be closer to Kraig, whose father served on the nearby US airbase, and his family.

Following William’s death, Kitty lived on her own until 2018 when she moved to St Mary’s Court care home.

Julia Clinton, CEO of Sonnet Care Homes, said:

“Current social distancing rules allowed Kitty to hold hands with Kraig and see his brother, Kier, and the son of their niece through a Covid-secure screen, which made her very excited. She was also over the moon to receive a letter from the Queen.

“We are blessed to have Kitty as part of the St Mary’s Court family and are pleased we were able to help her celebrate reaching 100-years-old with those close to her.”

To find out more about dementia, specialist and nursing care at St Mary’s Court, call 01376 328600 or email info@sonnetcarehomes.co.uk

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    Kitty with her great-great-grandnephew Rupert behind a Covid-secure screen at St Mary’s Court care home.

     

    Kitty in her wartime uniform.

     

    Kitty reading her letter from the Queen after turning 100.

    All images copyright: Kraig Donald.

    St Mary’s Court praised for ‘going extra mile’ in providing compassionate end of life care

    By 24th February 2021

    Judges of a prestigious national award recognising exceptional quality of care for those in the later stages of their lives have praised the compassionate teams at two Braintree care homes for ‘going the extra mile’ with their residents. Read More

    Our latest residents and relatives survey results for 2020 are out

    By 27th August 2020

    The team at St Mary’s Court care home are delighted with the results of the our most recent independent residents and relatives survey. Read More

    St Mary’s Court’s got talent to entertain care home residents

    By 10th July 2020

    Staff at our Braintree care home have unveiled an array of musical talent to entertain residents during the coronavirus lockdown. Read More

    Keep your distance from care home staff to keep residents safe

    By 17th June 2020

    Staff at our Braintree Dementia care home have been issued with special badges asking people to keep their distance – to help protect vulnerable residents from the coronavirus. Read More

    Celebrating and sharing memories of VE Day

    By 16th June 2020

    Residents of St Mary’s Court care home in Braintree had a fantastic garden party to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Read More

    St Mary’s Court Coronavirus Statement

    By 18th March 2020

    The health, safety and wellbeing of our residents and staff team are always our top priorities. We have therefore put in place robust and comprehensive contingency plans to prepare for, and respond to, the coronavirus outbreak in the UK. Our plans will be kept under regular review and updated as advised by the Government, Public Health England and associated advisory bodies. Read More

    Six of the best: Dedicated care home team shortlisted for six awards

    By 8th November 2019

    Dedicated staff from St Mary’s Court Care Home in Braintree were shortlisted for no less than six different awards. Terri Pike was a finalist for the Care Home Manager Award at the Great British Care Awards, Eastern Region, and Matron Joan Sirett was shortlisted for the Frontline Leader award. Read More

    Gold award for Braintree nursing care home

    By 3rd October 2019

    St Mary’s Court Care Home has become the first in Braintree to be commended by the National Gold Standards Framework (GSF) for the quality of care it provides to residents in the last years of their lives. Read More

    Activities at St Mary’s Court voted best in UK

    By 10th March 2019

    Activities Manager Jo Whitehouse has won a prestigious national award for her work providing a fun, creative and varied programme of activities to enhance the lives of care home residents in Braintree.

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    St Mary’s give the gift of water

    By 8th January 2019

    The team at St Mary’s Court residential care home were delighted to provide the gift of fresh water to a Zimbabwe community. Read More

    St Mary’s Court wins awards for food AND fun

    By 10th December 2018

    A passion for providing delicious and nutritious food and a varied programme of activities to promote wellbeing has won awards for our Braintree Dementia care home. Read More

    Award for Activities Manager brightening residents’ lives

    By 22nd November 2018

    Activities Manager Jo Whitehouse has won a prestigious award for her work providing a creative and varied programme of activities to brighten the lives of care home residents in our Care home in Braintree. Read More

    St Mary’s Court supports Alzheimer’s Society raising £1,000 on Memory Walk

    By 21st October 2018

    Caring staff, friends and family from St Mary’s Court residential care home have raised nearly £1,000 after taking part in a Memory Walk. Read More

    St Mary’s Court are celebrating success

    By 28th September 2018

    The team at St Mary’s Court residential care home in Braintree are celebrating after being shortlisted for not one, not two but 12 national and regional care awards. Read More

    Our Braintree care homes look blooming lovely

    By 30th August 2018

    The gardens at St Mary’s Court residential care home in Braintree have bloomed and come to life, thanks to a make-over from two groups of young volunteers.

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    St Mary’s Court care home celebrates the Royal Wedding in style

    By 13th June 2018

    Staff, residents and their families celebrated and watched the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle in the stunning sunshine of our beautiful gardens at St Mary’s Court. Read More

    Santa’s Elves from St Mary’s Court Raise Money for Alzheimer’s

    By 3rd January 2018

    Donning the jolly green outfits of Santa’s little helpers, staff from our Braintree specialist care home put on a festive spectacle at Braintree Freeport. Read More

    More award wins and award for caring chef is icing on the cake

    By 8th December 2017

    Staff at our specialist Braintree care home have won more recognition for their quality service – scooping two highly commended awards and an overall winner at the Prosper Essex Care Sector Awards. Read More

    Care home scoops three more prestigious awards

    By 15th November 2017

    St Mary’s Court care home in Bocking, Braintree has scooped three more awards, being judged Care Employer of the Year for the second year running.

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    Dedicated care home staff shortlisted for more awards

    By 31st October 2017

    Staff at our specialist Braintree care home are on a roll after being shortlisted for three awards at The Prosper Essex Care Sector Awards. Read More

    St Mary’s Court care home staff bid farewell to summer medieval-style

    By 9th October 2017

    Residents of The St Mary’s Court care home in Braintree and their families travelled back in time to enjoy a spectacular final outdoor event of the summer. Read More

    Care homes shortlisted for three esteemed national awards

    By 25th September 2017

    St Mary’s Court and The New Deanery residential care homes in Braintree have been shortlisted for not one, not two, but three accolades at the National Care Awards. Read More

    Dancing Grannies steal the show at St Mary’s Court Summer Fete

    By 25th July 2017

    A dance-off between the ‘Dancing Grannies’ and the ‘Honey G’s’ was the highlight of the Sonnet Care Homes Summer Fete in Bocking. Read More

    Father’s Day football fun supports cancer charity

    By 27th June 2017

    A Father’s Day football match and BBQ helped raise funds for a prostate cancer charity. The event was organised at the New Deanery and St Mary’s Court residential care homes in Bocking to give residents’ and their families an enjoyable afternoon in the sun, with live entertainment from singer Gary Oliver. Read More

    Teddy Bears’ Picnic at St Mary’s Court helps Braintree baby

    By 14th June 2017

    A Teddy Bears’ Picnic helped raise funds for a special Braintree baby with a rare chromosome disorder. The children’s day was organised at the New Deanery and St Mary’s Court residential care homes in Bocking to give residents’ grandchildren and families a fun day out with their loved ones. Read More

    Braintree Care homes raise money for dementia charity

    By 5th June 2017

    More than £180 has been raised by residents of the award-winning New Deanery and St Mary’s Court care homes in Bocking, and their families, at a fun quiz night.  The event, which attracted over 40 people, was organised by the homes’ resident Activities Manager Jo Whitehouse and her team, and held during national Dementia Awareness Week. Read More

    Survey of residents and relatives 2016

    By 13th December 2016
    A member of the team doing crafts with a resident

    In May/June this year we repeated our survey of residents and their relatives. We did this in order to understand what people think about the care and services we provide and to help inform our ongoing improvement plans. Read More

    Two prestigious national awards for our Bocking care home

    By 5th December 2016

    Ieva with collecting her awardThe New Deanery and St Mary’s Court residential care homes near Braintree are celebrating having won two prestigious National Care Awards at a glittering ceremony at the Hilton London Metropole

    Home Manager at The New Deanery, Jane Sadowski scooped the top award in the Care Leadership 2016 category and Head of Housekeeping Ieva Bagurske was named as Care Housekeeper 2016, on 25 November.

    Ieva impressed the judges with their report stating: “Ieva has used her background in hotel services to transform housekeeping in a person-centred way. This has been achieved by coaching and role modeling, quality standards, making a difference through choice, innovation and outstanding customer service.” Read More

    St Mary’s Court care team nominated for more care awards

    By 11th October 2016
    The teamThe teams from St Mary’s Court and The New Deanery care homes  in Bocking near Braintree are celebrating having reached the final stages at two prestigious care industry awards in an impressive 10 categories.

    But that’s not all: Sonnet Care Homes, which runs them, has been shortlisted for the Care Employer Award at The Great British Care Awards, East of England Region, bringing the ‘finalists’ tally to 11.

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    Braintree carers Brave the Shave for charity

    By 22nd September 2016

    Yasmin and Dawn after raising cash for MacmillanTwo dedicated carers St Mary’s Court care home in Bocking took the selfless and courageous step of shaving their hair to raise over £1,000 for Macmillan Cancer Research.

    On 20 September Yasmin Grey and Dawn Potter chose to join the thousands of people across the country that have taken part in the charity’s Brave the Shave campaign which has already raised over £3 million.
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    Essex tribute band bring joy to Braintree care home

    By 15th September 2016

    A resident dancing with Jo CrosbyResidents, families and the team at The New Deanery and St Mary’s Court care homes, near Braintree, took advantage of great weather and their extensive grounds to dance through the decades thanks to music from multi tribute act Recollections.

    It is not the first time the act has played at the home – it has proved so popular with residents that the activities team asked them back and they were not disappointed. Read More

    Summer fun at our Bocking care home

    By 7th September 2016

    Children with a MinionResidents and staff at the St Mary’s Court care home in Bocking made the most of summer with two successful fundraising events – a Summer Fete and a Children’s Fun Day, raising £375 for Mencap and £183 for Childline respectively.

    Friends and family also attended the Summer Fete and enjoyed a tombola, traditional games such as a coconut shy and hook-a-duck, music from the Essex Pipers and Drum Band, Vocal Reflections Choir and Barber Shop Quartet with the proceeds going to Mencap.

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    Braintree Care home residents enjoy a night out at the races

    By 31st August 2016

    Residents at the racesA fantastic night was had by residents and staff from St Mary’s Court residential care home in Bocking when they went to Chelmsford City Racecourse, as part of the home’s varied activities programme.

    The idea of the evening out for residents at the care home was suggested by St Mary’s Court resident Malcolm Whitehead, who is an ex bookie.

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    Braintree dementia care home passes on the baton in Relay with Care

    By 11th August 2016

    Passing the baton at the Relay with CareResidents and staff from The New Deanery and St Mary’s Court residential care homes, in Bocking, took part in a charity relay across Essex. The relay baton travelled across the county over five days, visiting 35 care homes along the way and was brought to St Mary’s Court care home, Braintree on 2nd August.

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    St Mary’s Court care home residents entertained on Spanish themed day

    By 4th August 2016

    Residents enjoying the Spanish themed dayFrom Flamenco dancing to tasty paella, residents and staff from The New Deanery care home in Bocking, enjoyed a spectacular Spanish fiesta held in the home’s stunning 10 acre grounds. The residents and their families, who attended on the 31 July, tucked into a delicious lunch of paella, tapas, a barbeque and refreshing sangria, whilst enjoying Spanish dancing and music.

     

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    Shetland ponies are the mane attraction at our Bocking care home

    By 7th July 2016

    Resident with a ponyResidents and staff from St Mary’s Court residential care home in Braintree had a delightful surprise when they were visited by two Shetland ponies named Rosie and Bonnie.

    The two ponies, supplied by Magical Miniature Ponies, visited the care home, and sister care home The New Deanery on the 29 June and residents were overjoyed to see them.

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    A royal celebration at St Mary’s Court care home for the Queen’s 90th birthday

    By 14th June 2016

    Enjoying the royal partyResidents and staff from St Mary’s Court residential care home in Bocking marked the Queen’s 90th Birthday with a glorious garden party set in the home’s stunning 10 acre grounds.

    The event was a real celebration with those attending enjoying a British spread of tea, cakes, scones and salmon and cucumber sandwiches. Read More

    St Mary’s Court care home in Bocking is praised in latest CQC inspection report

    By 15th April 2016

    Residents at St Mary's CourtIn the past 15 months, under the ownership of Sonnet Care Homes, St Mary’s Court care home has gone from strength-to-strength and is now rated as ‘good’ overall by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), with a rating of ‘outstanding’ for leadership.

    In the CQC’s latest report (April 2016) the care home was judged to be ‘outstanding’ in the ‘well-led’ section of the report and ‘good’ in the sections which check safety, effectiveness, care and responsiveness.

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    New national award for the team at St Mary’s Court

    By 16th March 2016

    The teams celebrating at the awardsThe St Mary’s Court care home in Bocking beat off fierce competition from across England to triumph in the category of Most Effective Approach to Leadership and Management, at the government-backed Skills for Care Accolades awards.

    The accolades, which reward companies who are committed to providing high quality care and developing their workforce, were held at a glamorous ceremony in Birmingham on the 10th March, hosted by Jennie McAlpine of Coronation Street fame.

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    Bocking care homes named as finalists for national awards

    By 7th December 2015

    Two members of the team with a resident St Mary’s Court and The New Deanery care homes in Bocking near Braintree have been named as finalists at the government backed Skills for Care Accolades, which reward companies who are committed to providing high quality care and developing their workforce.

    The care homes are shortlisted in the final three nationally in the Most Effective Approach to Leadership and Management category.

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    St Mary’s Court staff to receive the Living Wage

    By 29th October 2015

    Braintree based Sonnet Care Homes, which operates St Mary’s Court care home has announced its decision to increase rates of pay to a minimum of £7.25, ahead of the Government’s introduction of the National Living Wage of £7.20, which comes into force from the 1st April 2016.

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    Four care award nominations for our Braintree care home

    By 20th October 2015

    Members of the team St Mary’s Court residential care home in Braintree, as well as it’s sister home, The New Deanery have been named as finalists at both The National Care Awards 2015 and The Great British Care Awards’ East of England Region, which recognise the very best people in the long-term care sector.

    Julia Clinton, the CEO of parent company Sonnet Care Homes, has been selected as a finalist for the Care Leadership award at The National Care Awards 2015, nominated by senior figures within the care sector for the improvements that have been made at The New Deanery in the past year.
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    National award nomination for Braintree care company CEO

    By 16th October 2015

    The National Care Awards logoThe CEO of Braintree-based Sonnet Care Homes,which manages The St Mary’s Court care home Julia Clinton, has been selected as a finalist for the Care Leadership award at The National Care Awards 2015.

    As the CEO of Sonnet Care Homes, the parent company of The New Deanery and St Mary’s Court residential care homes in Bocking, Julia has been nominated by senior figures within the care sector for the improvements that have been made at The New Deanery in the past year.

     

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    Resident Grace celebrates her 102nd birthday

    By 15th October 2015

    Grace with her birthday cakeThey say age is just a number and for Grace Blangy, resident at our residential care home in Braintree, that number is 102.

    Celebrating her birthday in style, on the 9th October, Grace was joined by the care workers at St Mary’s Court care home for a tasty lunch in the luxurious gardens. Read More

    Staff complete six mile Memory Walk and raise over £1,500 for Alzheimer’s Society

    By 29th September 2015

    Staff on the Memory WalkOn Saturday 26 September staff and relatives of residents from The New Deanery and St Mary’s Court residential care homes near Braintree, completed a six mile Memory Walk, raising over £1,500 for the Alzheimer’s Society.

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    Dancing through the decades at Braintree care home

    By 23rd September 2015

    John Travolta look alike singing to a residentResidents and staff at The New Deanery and St Mary’s Court residential care homes, near Braintree, enjoyed music from the 40’s through to the 00’s when multi tribute act Recollections provided entertainment for all.

    Family and friends joined residents as Saul Watts and Pollie Hall from the tribute act filled The New Deanery’s stunning 10 acre gardens with hits from the likes of Elvis Presley, John Travolta, Olivia Newton John, Amy Winehouse and many more.

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    Team from St Mary’s Court raise funds for Alzheimer’s Society

    By 22nd September 2015

    The team at St Mary's CourtOn Saturday 26 September staff and relatives of residents from St Mary’s Court and The New Deanery residential care homes near Braintree set off on a six mile Memory Walk to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.

    During the month Memory Walks are taking place across the UK in a bid to raise money for a world without dementia. People of all abilities can come together to recognise those affected by dementia by raising money for the cause.

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    Braintree care worker braves the shave

    By 17th August 2015

    Angie before
    After losing her mother to cancer nearly two years ago, Angie Fuller, who is a Care Worker at St Mary’s Court residential care home in Braintree, wanted to give a little something back to a cancer charity, so she decided to shave her hair.

    On Tuesday (21 July), at Vintage Glamour beauty Salon in Braintree, Angie’s daughter, who works at the salon, shaved her mother’s head as part of Macmillan Cancer Support’s ‘Brave the Shave’ campaign.

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    Braintree care home rocks on 50s fun day

    By 14th August 2015

    Boy with a truckSwinging along to the sounds of the 50s, residents of St Mary’s Court and neighbouring The New Deanery care homes in Bocking enjoyed a rock ‘n roll barbecue and vintage car show.

    Family and friends joined in as dancers Tony and Rose Bowers, from Mr Dickie Bow’s, put on a show in the homes’ spacious 10-acre gardens. Residents and guests enjoyed entertainment from the ‘Mama Don’t Dance’ band.

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    Our Braintree care home gets top marks

    By 29th July 2015

    Two of the team dressed upAn ‘Armed Forces’ day held at our residential care home in Bocking near Braintree helped residents and their families reminisce while allowing friends and families to share a special day.

    Residents enjoyed the secure 10 acre gardens which are now in full bloom, admiring a World War II tank, which had been brought along to add to the ambience. An air raid hut, complete with contents, a wartime 750cc BMW flathead motorbike, which would have been used to escort the tanks during the war, and staff in costume completed the theme.

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    Survey of residents and relatives 2015

    By 10th July 2015

    In our most recent Residents and Relatives Survey, St Mary’s Court and neighbouring The New Deanery scored top marks for providing a caring service. Everyone who completed the survey, commissioned by Sonnet Care Homes and undertaken by an independent company, also said we were effective in meeting our residents’ needs and that we provided support when needed and professional care.

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    KCR Star: January 2015

    By 9th January 2015

    Susan Hammond, Care Assistant, Oak Unit: 

    Susan was nominated by Mystie Powell who said that she is especially kind to residents who remain in their rooms, spending time with them and always being cheerful.