Movie inspiration Philomena is guest of honour at opening of St Albans care home's new cinema
PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 June 2016
Care home chairman William Hughes had always wanted to meet Philomena Lee, the St Albans resident whose life story was behind an Oscar-nominated movie.
So staff at Clare Lodge, who had asked Philomena to open their new cinema, kept it as a surprise that she had agreed to unveil the room which has been transformed into a cinema showing films, DVDs and big TV occasions.
And the two of them, both Irish and of a similar age, got on like house on fire when they met at the care home in Battlefield Road.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the first film shown in the cinema was Philomena, the movie starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan based on Philomena’s long search to find her son who was put up for adoption by nuns at the Irish laundry where she was sent to work when she was pregnant.
Home manager, Karen Langley, explained that Mr Hughes, who is chairman of the parent company B&M Care, had always wanted to meet Philomena and when staff were chatting it came to light that one of them knew her. When she accepted the invitation to open the cinema, they decided to keep her visit as a surprise for him.
As well as chatting to residents, Philomena stayed for tea and cake and was presented with flowers.
She was taken home by Mr Hughes in his 1904 Bentley after promising to keep in touch with the care home.