First through the doors at Berryhill Village: Ada’s story

Ada and Stan Yemm were first to pick up the keys and move into their new flat at Berryhill, and the sociable couple would go on to become true stalwarts in the life of the village.

Ada, now 83, was reluctant to move at first, but admits that Stan “got his way”, as he had gone through a bout of illness and wanted to be in a place where he knew his wife would be fine if anything should happen to him.

“I’m not sorry I gave in,” Ada conceded, “I love it here. My first impressions were wonderful, everybody was so friendly – when my sister first came to visit she cried because it was so nice!”

Ada, who has six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, recalled how the residents used to socialise together in the lounge, so much so that she and her late husband resolved to raise money and secure a licence for a proper bar on site – the same bar that hosted Berryhill’s 21st birthday party on 8 May.

She added: “Stan played a big part in the village when we first came in. He worked behind the bar, he was the bingo caller, and we used to put on curry nights – we’d spend the whole day in the kitchen and everyone loved it, although they tried to keep away from our corridor when we were cooking all that curry!

“We were the first to use the gym too. We noticed the only thing they didn’t have was a rowing machine, so my daughter ran the London Marathon to raise money so we could buy one. I still use the gym twice a week, I like the treadmill and the cross trainer.”

Ada was born and bred in Stoke, but the family lived in Wiltshire for 30 years after Stan’s career in the RAF took their family down south. They returned to the Midlands after he received a job offer from a local company.

She reminisced: “I remember Stan rang me up and said ‘fancy moving back to Stoke?’ and then we were back! A few years later we moved to Berryhill, and now I’ve been here 21 years. I’ve done so many things here and I’ve always got on with everybody; it really is a community.”

(Top photograph: Ada pulls a pint behind the bar she raised the money to open. Bottom photograph: Stan and Ada Yemm moving into their Berryhill flat in 1998).

Read more about Berryhill Village and its 21st birthday celebrations here.

8th May 2019 | 2019