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Christmas 2022: Army veteran builds Nativity scene at Solihull care home

A nimble-fingered Army veteran has put his creative skills to good use by making a Nativity scene at his care home.

Stan Pell built the scene with the help of staff at Royal Star & Garter in Solihull.

The Home provides loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia.

It took the 91-year-old around a week to build the scene, which was made from cardboard with a wooden support and a thatched roof and lined with straw. Staff at the Home knitted characters including a Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Angel Gabriel, Three Wise Men, little donkey and cattle. Stan also made Baby Jesus’ manger, and added lights.

The finished Christmas scene is now proudly on display in the Home.

Royal Star & Garter provides daily activities and outings tailored for groups and individuals, which tap into interests and hobbies they had earlier in their lives. Stan had been a DIY enthusiast. Recently, he also built a skittles alley for other Royal Star & Garter residents to use.

Stan, who was in the Royal Signals for two years to complete his National Service between 1949-1951, said: “I like having something to do, it keeps me busy. I like doing things and making things.”

The Wellbeing Team at the Home helped Stan with his project. Dawn, one of the Wellbeing Coordinators, said: “Stan really enjoyed building the Nativity scene. He’s already made the skittles alley, and in the summer he painted the woodwork in the garden. It’s very important for Stan that he keeps busy and active. He’s a very physical man, and these tasks give him a really good sense of purpose – it picks him up tremendously.”

Stan’s daughter Jayne said: “Dad has always enjoyed his DIY and could turn his hand to anything. Now he’s at the Home he’s helped and encouraged to continue with his hobbies. It’s good that he’s physically active, and it’s good for his wellbeing.”

Both Jayne’s parents live at the Home, as does her husband’s father. She continued: “It’s marvellous. We have three parents at Royal Star & Garter and we couldn’t be more grateful. It’s absolutely wonderful.

The Solihull Home is welcoming new residents. For more information on this, or to work at the Home, please go to

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