Topping out at Royal Star & Garter military home

Topping out at Royal Star & Garter military home

A traditional ‘topping-out’ ceremony has marked construction of the new £17 million Royal Star & Garter veterans’ home in High Wycombe reaching its highest structural point.

The milestone event was attended by the Charity’s governors and directors as well as guests including The Rt Hon The Earl Howe, Minister of State for Defence; Air Chief Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Sir Stephen Hillier; Major General Tim Tyler, Chairman of Wycombe District Council, Councillor Suzanne Brown and Wing Commander Farid Khan, Officer Commanding Information Systems Wing RAF High Wycombe, plus notable figures from leading military charities including The Royal British Legion.  

Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Hillier performed the ancient Saxon ritual of anointing a yew tree branch attached to the last roof beam with wine, oil, corn and salt, symbolising wisdom, liberty, prosperity and hospitality. The beam was then hoisted into its final position.

Once completed next spring, the veterans’ home will provide dedicated nursing and therapeutic care for 74 residents and including a specialist dementia care wing for 30 residents. The state-of-the-art accommodation will offer large, ensuite bed-sitting rooms, a spacious dining room, café-bar, a piano lounge, library and landscaped sensory gardens and balconies. Stepnell is also building a large communal terrace area on each floor for residents to enjoy.

Defence Minister Earl Howe commented: “Our veterans have given a huge amount to this country, and this charity is a great example of the country giving back. Charities play an important role in caring for our veterans, and I would like to extend my personal thanks to The Royal Star & Garter Homes for their ongoing support.”

Tom Wakeford, Stepnell Joint Managing Director, says: “Construction is progressing well on this very high-specification Royal Star & Garter Home and it’s exciting for us all to see the new building taking shape. Our project team is thrilled to be working with Royal Star & Garter on this superb and much-needed veterans’ home. Today’s topping-out ceremony brings us past the construction half-way point and onto the home stretch towards project completion.” 

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier remarks: “I’m delighted to be able to give my support to the Charity, especially in High Wycombe, which already has so many other important connections with the Royal Air Force. The Charity sets the standard in nursing and dementia care. I’m confident the High Wycombe Home will continue to deliver award-winning care as per the Charity’s existing Homes, as well as drawing on new innovations and thinking.”

“We are delighted to be bringing our brand of specialist care to the veterans living in the Buckinghamshire area,” says The Royal Star & Garter Homes’ Chairman, Major General Tim Tyler. “We are also extremely proud to be bringing new life to a brownfield site and to bring new jobs and sustainability to the local community, which we look forward to engaging with as the Home moves towards opening. The new Home will mean that we can provide specialist care for even more veterans in their time of need.”

L - R The Royal Star & Garter Homes’ Chairman, Major General Tim Tyler; Air Chief Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Sir Stephen Hillier; Lady Hillier; Chairman of Wycombe District Council, Councillor Mrs Suzanne Brown