The Duke of Gloucester unveiled a plaque in the home’s grounds on Thursday and local media were in attendance to speak to R.A.B.I staff and trustees, residents of Manson House and others involved in the renovation project. Other dignitaries included the Mayor and Mayoress of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Mr and Mrs Patrick Chung and the Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council, Ms Deborah Cadman OBE.
The work, led by Kier Construction, began in April 2012 when The Duke of Gloucester – who is president of R.A.B.I – attended a turf cutting ceremony to start the project. The home, in line with the charity’s mission, is primarily for people from farming backgrounds but does not discourage applications from other members of the community.
Manson House has 23 self-contained apartments for independent living and 31 en-suite residential rooms. Rooms in the main house have been stripped out and refurbished in line with modern-day residential care needs but retains much of its original Grade II* Georgian character.
Paul Burrows, chief executive of R.A.B.I, said: “What we have done is safeguard the long-term future of Manson House. To everyone involved in making this project happen, and all those affected by the work, I say thank you for your patience and understanding. It has taken a while to get there, but it’s been worth it.”
A cream tea event using donations of fresh produce from Wilkin & Sons, Tiptree and Rodda’s cream was held in the grounds of Manson House on Wednesday 8th July and regional committees and staff were invited to attend the event and tour the development.
BBC Farming Today visited Manson House to record a ‘sights and sounds’ piece with home manager, Carole Smith and some of the residents. Carole said: “R.A.B.I has invested a lot of money, but it is future-proof”, while resident Bill Tickle had BBC presenter Anna Hill chuckling with his recollections. Listen now via podcast: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b063cxn0