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Phyllis and Jean chatting over a cup of tea

Phyllis Blanch and Jean Smith have become inseparable friends at Carey Lodge residential home in Wing and took the opportunity to celebrate their special bond on Monday, which marked International Friendship Day.

In 2011 the 30th July was declared International Friendship Day by the General Assembly of United Nations. While the day is symbolic of global relations, it also recognises the importance of friendship at a grassroots level in local communities.

Phyllis came to Carey Lodge, run by The Fremantle Trust, in October 2016 having previously lived in Portsmouth. Jean, who grew up on a farm and lived in Buckinghamshire, struck up a friendship with Phyllis while doing activities together within the care home.

They spent International Friendship Day doing their favourite thing - taking their daily stroll in the garden together and reflecting on the importance of spending time with friends.

A Harvard longitudinal study, which was carried out over a period of nearly 80 years, revealed that close relationships, rather than money or fame, are key to leading a happy and healthy life. Phyllis and Jean are proof that the depth of relationships with those in your local community contribute to daily joy and contentment.

In the last year they have become really close and value the bond they share. Although admittedly ‘chalk and cheese’ with contrasting personalities, they both enjoy chatting, reminiscing and laughing.

Speaking about their friendship, Jean said:

It’s great to have a special friendship where you can have an argument but not take offence. There aren’t many people who can do that - it’s a special friendship when you can.

Clare Hedge, manager of Carey Lodge, added:

Phyllis and Jean have a lovely friendship that has blossomed naturally over the course of  the last year. They are part of a thriving, close-knit community here which brings a real sense of belonging, while supporting people to be as independent as they want to be.