My friend Suzanne’s grandfather is Peter Stevens, who was Deputy Manager at Westbrook between 1991 and 2000. In September I invited them both, along with Peter’s wife June, back to Westbrook for a trip down memory lane.
Peter and June moved to the island in 1988, living in Sandown where they bought and ran a small hotel. After selling the hotel, Peter began working for the Union at Westbrook in 1991, where he ‘enjoyed nine wonderful years’ until he retired. He was a prominent face through those years when Westbrook was busy year-round with Crusader Groups on annual retreats, camps and holidays.
Having worked as a qualified architect in London, Peter reminisced about the changes and improvements he oversaw during his tenure. Changes such as the provision of a new bedroom and disabled toilet facility next to the staff room, and the modifications to the ablution facilities down in the Dunny (our affectionate name for the lower floor of the accommodation).
Peter and June have previously been back to Westbrook over the years, regularly attending the Christmas Carol Service, although this visit gave them both the chance to see more of the house and grounds and how things have changed over the subsequent years.
A lineage of godly staff, including Peter, have ensured that Westbrook continues to improve and develop to meet the ever-changing demands of all the groups that come to stay with us. Wherever we look around Westbrook, we see the fingerprints of those staff who have gone before us, who took up many of the practical tasks in aid of our wonderful site knowing that every ‘bang’ of a hammer or brush stroke helped to realise the ultimate goal and mission of the Union.
COVID-19 has closed many doors to us here at Westbrook, at least for a time. However, it has also opened so many too. As it becomes increasingly likely that we will not be able to serve young people en masse before Easter 2021, we have been able to welcome Associates and supporters for a cup of tea and a walk down memory lane. Once COVID-19 restrictions allow, we'd like to be able to again. Do contact Jo Baynham, Westbrook Centre Manager, on 01983 811118 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to arrange a visit in the New Year.
Westbrook Team Member & Social Media Coordinator