Glebe Care Centre’s Poster Girl Josie Shares Life Story

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Glebe Care Centre’s eldest resident and current poster girl Josie is 96 years young. Josie was born just outside Derry/Londonderry near the shores of the River Foyle.

Josie experienced heartache for the first time at a very young age, her mother passed away in childbirth whilst labouring with Josie’s younger brother. From the age of 5 Josie went to live with her aunt who had a small farm nearby.  During this time she attended the local primary school and by all accounts was noted as a very bright pupil.  When the school day was done Josie helped out on the farm, tending the livestock and other seasonal chores.

After leaving school the Northwest girl entered training for ’service’ and eventually obtained regular employment in a large house occupied by the local ‘gentry’. Josie worked in the kitchen and served meals in the dining room, a position often referred to as ‘scullery maid’.  She recalls that the two ‘ladies’ of the house bred Scottish Deerhounds and they often prizes at Crufts.  Josie tells us that she used to be fed up polishing all the trophies they won!  Her experience may have mirrored that of ITV Downton Abbey’s kitchen maid Daisy.

Shortly after the outbreak of war Josie joined the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service). She attended training in Scotland prior to taking up a posting in Northern Ireland.  Her post was located in Whiteabbey in a large house called Macedon Point.  The house later became an orphanage and has since been demolished.

During her free weekends she would travel home by train. It was on one of these journeys that she met her husband John.  They married in July 1944, just six months after first meeting.  She reminisces that it was love at first sight.  Within a very short time she realised she was pregnant. The expected date given by the doctor caused great consternation, and it was no small relief to Josie when her son Gordon arrived nine months and thirteen days after her wedding day!

A few years later another son was born. At around 18 months old Josie’s second born developed a cold but Josie knew it was more serious.  Her son was diagnosed with polio and spent several months in hospital. Thankfully he made a full recovery.

In 1951 things were on the up for Josie and her family. They moved into a new home, modern for its day with running water, an inside toilet with flush and a bath!  This was luxury compared to what they were used to.  The family were very happy there, especially when their much craved for daughter, Helen came along the following year.

Following years of contentment, life took a downturn for Josie and her family with the loss of her beloved husband John, who died suddenly at 51 years old. Following this time Josie continued to raise her family, and had many hobbies, including gardening and walking her various dogs.

In later years Josie had a fall, and realised she couldn’t manage at home on her own any longer. Josie moved to Glebe Care Centre following the fall where she continues to live a very happy life, a content member of the care centre community who exercises a very sharp wit!  She retains her independence and in fact Josie can walk faster down the corridor than some of the staff!

Josie and family kindly agreed to share her life story with us. Larchwood Care (NI) Ltd would like to thank Josie for sharing with us and for agreeing to be the pin-up girl for Glebe Care Centre’s information brochure.

Larchwood Care (NI) Limited
First Floor

Unit 16 Crescent Industrial Estate
Ballinderry Road

BT28 2GN

Tel: 028 92 669 360

20 October 2021

The roll out of the vaccination programme in Northern Ireland has been another important mechanism which has helped the reduction in risk to us all within society.  We are delighted that within the Care Homes a very significant percentage of residents have been vaccinated and whilst we remain committed to the continued diligence of wearing PPE and enhanced infection control measures the impact of COVID-19 in the last 3 months has reduced.  Whilst acknowledging these pleasing outcomes most recent news of outbreaks in some local areas and a rise of cases associated with societal mixing reminds us not to be complacent.

In the last 24 hours we have received the updated guidance in respect of the step on the visiting pathway “Gradual Easing”.  Having considered the content of this document we have risk assessed our own local arrangements and are pleased to outline the plans in place for the Larchwood Care NI Homes below:

Virtual, Window, End of Life Visiting and Care Partners

There have not been any changes in the arrangements for the above visiting opportunities.  All continue to be available within the Homes and can be booked, where necessary, through the Home Administrator.


General Visiting


In line with the Regional guidelines referenced above Larchwood Care NI is also facilitating General and Room Visits.  The difference between a General Visit and a Room Visit is the location in which they take place within the Home.  A General Visit will take place within the designated visiting area of the Home and a Room Visit, for those residents unable to come to the visiting area, will take place in the Resident’s room.


All General and Room visits must be pre-booked and you will be asked a series of risk assessment questions as part of this booking process.  Booking can take place Monday – Friday 1000 – 1100 hours or 1400-1500 hours, by phoning the Care Home.  The following guidelines will help you to understand the process and arrangements for both types of visits


  • Book in advance.
  • Undertake risk assessment over the phone.
  • 4 visitors from a maximum of 2 households may visit up to four times per week for maximum 60 minutes.
  • Visitors may include children. Children are included within the maximum 4 persons per visit.
  • Arrive to the Home wearing a face mask 20 minutes prior to your visiting slot.
  • All visitors will be swabbed using a rapid antigen COVID-19 test.
  • You will be asked to wait until the result of your test is confirmed as negative
  • You may touch and hold hands with the resident and brief hugging is now permitted.



In facilitating this wide range of visiting activities and care partner arrangements you will understand the burden placed on staff time to undertake the administration and facilitation of these.  Each Home will therefore have a maximum number of general and virtual visits available per week and we would ask that all relatives, family and friends are understanding of this.


In addition to visiting, independently mobile residents may avail of meeting with relatives in the grounds and gardens of the Homes.  Residents may also now enjoy brief trips outside of the Home with loved ones.  These trips will be accommodated where restrictions such as social distancing and the wearing of face masks and the use of hand sanitiser can be facilitated.  Such visits will be risk assessed by the care home and further direction on these can be sought through the Home Manager.


Care Partner arrangements within the Homes continue and visits by Church Ministers and Faith Groups are in addition to the above visiting arrangements.


All visitors, including Care Partners, in their daily lives are reminded of the need to ensure good personal hygiene, use of face coverings as required and to exercise their judgement on the need to use public transport for the benefit of all residents and staff in the Home.