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Carer retires after 41 years with Royal Star & Garter

Royal Star & Garter’s longest serving member of staff has retired.

Lead Healthcare Assistant Emrys Owen bid farewell to the charity and residents at its Surbiton Home on Friday 19 January, 41 years after starting work.

The 65-year-old enjoyed a farewell party, with cake and live music entertainment.

Royal Star & Garter provides loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia, and has new services reaching out into the community.

Emrys joined in 1982, when the charity was based in Richmond, and has been at the Surbiton Home since it opened in 2013.

In 2021, he was awarded a British Empire Medal by Queen Elizabeth II for services to veterans during Covid-19. He later described this as “the proudest moment of my working life.”

At his retirement party, Emrys was given a round of applause by residents. RAF veteran Michael said: “You could not ask for a more meticulous, caring and skilled carer. I have come to rely on him enormously and I like to regard him as a really good friend. He will be missed.”

Emrys, from Dorking, said: “It seems such a long time ago since I first started, but it’s been a wonderful and enjoyable life. I’ll miss the residents, and their camaraderie and friendship. I’ll miss the people I work with, it’s like working in a family. And I’m grateful for everything the charity has done for me. The opportunities I’ve had to learn and develop over the years have been exceptional. It’s been a good place for me, and I shall miss getting up to come to work. Being at Royal Star & Garter was where I needed to be, it was my vocation.”

Offering advice to new staff members, he added: “Embrace all that this job has to offer, because it’s a good place to work. Make the most of your opportunities to develop your career.”

Helena Maher is the Home Manager at Surbiton. She said: “I know Emrys will be greatly missed by staff, as well as residents. We were lucky to have had him with us for so long, and we all wish him a very happy retirement.”

Following the tea party, band Side by Side performed for residents, and dedicated their first song to Emrys.

Kate Silver, Director of People at the charity, said: “Emrys was one of many members of staff we have at Royal Star & Garter who have been with us a long time. The fact that so many people have spent such a large portion of their working lives here hopefully reflects well on the way that we value our staff, and indicates it’s a good place to work.”

Royal Star & Garter in Surbiton is welcoming new residents. For more information on this, or to work at the Home, go to

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