News & Events

Eagle Wood centre is so good it should be replicated across the country says care campaigner Tony Robinson

Mon 2 Apr 2012 - posted by PJ Care

The Blackadder actor and Time Team presenter was at the specialist centre in Bretton, Peterborough, for its official opening in September 2012, where he unveiled a commemorative plaque at the PJ Care owned Eagle Wood to mark the occasion.

Click here to watch highlights from the day

He heaped praise on the £12 million centre, its staff and facilities, and said: “I’m really proud to be here, and I just wish Eagle Wood was replicated in every other town and city across the country.” Sir Tony added: “It’s important to celebrate best practice. And Eagle Wood is just the best practice you could possibly have."

“As soon as you walk through those doors the first thing that hits you is a wave of optimism, and it doesn’t leave all the time you are here.”
“It is such a glory to see somewhere where you have genuine personalised care. Each individual here is treated not as a bunch of symptoms on legs but as a person with individual needs which are constantly reassessed."

“There’s always a test when you go into any type of care establishment to see how many of the care workers know the names of all the residents. Here everyone’s first name, and everyone’s second name is known by everyone, and that’s quite a sign.”

Around 200 visitors, including the Mayor of Peterborough, Councillor June Stokes, and representatives from the design team, and the builders and architects involved in the Eagle Wood project, were at the opening.

Another special guest was 11-year-old William Flanagan, a local schoolboy, who won a competition to come up with a name for the centre. William, who was joined by his parents, grandmother, and three brothers, also unveiled a plaque.

They stood alongside staff, the families of residents, and the residents themselves to watch Sir Tony explain why he is so passionate about the quality of care.

Both his parents suffered from dementia, and he spent ten years dividing his time between his television work and looking after their care needs. Sir Tony is now an ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society.

PJ Care, which manages Eagle Wood, also runs two specialist care centres in Milton Keynes.

Being showcased at the official opening on September 9 were Eagle Wood’s therapy facilities, sensory gardens, and its specialist hydropool and gym. Headway Cambridgeshire runs regular therapy sessions from the centre.

The official opening coincided with the return of a number of Iron Age and Roman artefacts discovered at the site when construction work began. A selection of artefacts is now on display in the centre’s reception area.

Until now the artefacts have been in the hands of archaeologists working for Oxford Archaeology, one of the largest independent archaeology practices in Europe.

The experts believe the Eagle Wood site was originally a settlement in use from Iron Age 100BC to 300AD, when Britain was part of the Roman Empire. They say the settlement featured a Roman well, which may have been used as a public ‘healing spring’.

Several massive stones which surrounded the well have been moved from their original location which is under the centre’s car park, and have been incorporated into the design of the centre. They are on display as part of a small enclosed garden, clearly visible from the reception area.

At the opening, Sir Tony, who presented 20 series of Channel 4’s archaeology programme Time Team, said he believed the well was probably connected to the goddess Coventina. She was a British goddess of wells, springs and healing.

He said it was quite romantic to think that the healing that was going on 2000 years ago was being continued today.

Neil Russell, CEO for PJ Care, came up with the initial design for the centre. He said: “We built our care home on the site of a Roman care home. It’s great that we can continue that ancient tradition.”

PJ Care’s founder and chair, Jan Flawn, said: “It was wonderful to have Sir Tony and his wife Louise there at the opening. He’s such a champion of good quality care, and also made a real impression on the people he met at Eagle Wood with his warmth, compassion and empathy.”

“It was lovely to hear him speak in very flattering terms about the work we do here at Eagle Wood. And, he’s right, it would be fantastic to have this centre replicated across the UK, because we genuinely believe we are providing our residents with the very best care and treatment available.”


We are all aware that these are very difficult times and that nearly everyone has been affected in some way by the COVID-19 virus.

Here at PJ Care we are taking every precaution and doing all we can to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our residents and staff and their families and loved ones. We have put many new systems in place to ensure the wellbeing of all, including heightened infection control procedures, restrictions on visitors to our buildings and reducing staff movement between Units.

As a result of the inconsistencies in conducting tests and the inability to carry out antibody tests, we have taken the decision to cease all new admissions until the situation is clearer. We have taken this decision to protect our existing residents, all of whom are vulnerable and at high risk should the virus get into one of our buildings.

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While there are reports of shortages of some equipment and distribution by suppliers is rationed, we are confident that we have sufficient supply to meet the needs of our residents. We continue to do all we can to protect those in our care and the incredible people who look after them every day.

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Take care and stay healthy

Neil Russell