Biggleswade Campus Uplifts Milton Ernest Care Home
A choir of some current and former Focus Students from Biggleswade School Campus revisited Milton Ernest Hall Care Home to encourage and uplift the elderly residents. The care home staff and residents enjoyed the music and asked the choir to come back, maybe in the summer.
The students practise together and some of these sessions are held at the school campus, with the doors open for all to attend and enjoy the music.
Most visitors find Milton Ernest Hall fascinating. It is the only country house designed and built by the noted Gothic architect Sir William Butterfield whose “structural polychromy” with variegated brick banding became the fashion of the late Victorian period. The Gothic Revival was in its heyday between 1855 and 1885 and this Grade 1 listed building built in 1865 is a good example of the era.
The students also learnt that Milton Ernest Hall was used as a HQ by the Allied Forces in WW2. They found the small plaque that remembers those who served at this grand yet covert building close to Thurleigh Airfield. RAF Thurleigh hosted American B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft of the 8th Air Force during the war. 171 aircraft failed to return and there is a small museum on the airfield containing a Remembrance Book to all the young men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Some of the student’s ancestors were in the Allied Forces and the conductor’s elderly great grandfather is a former WW2 medic who spent most of the war in uniform. He was on the last boat out of Dunkirk, landed in Normandy D Day+3, survived Arnhem and carried on into Germany, finally caring for the emaciated survivors from Bergen Belsen. The British were the first to enter a death camp and first-hand accounts of mass graves, piles of corpses, and ‘living skeletons’ spread quickly around the world.