Patrick’s birthday is on St Patricks Day!

When I first met Patrick, I asked him if his birthday was on 17th March,

“How do you know?!” He beamed at me

“Ah! Because it’s saint Patrick’s day and you look like a saint to me!”

Patrick loves engaging with people, so I asked if Patrick and his sisters would chat to me about his story for release on his birthday to find out a bit about Patrick’s history, and is he, Irish?

It turns out that he is…


But what if we trace back the origin of their names?

His sister Avril has another well-timed name, born in April. Her name leads us to France, as does his other sister Valerie, but what about Patrick?

Initially Latin, it found its way over to the UK. I’m clutching at straws here! So what does the name Patrick mean?

“Bright but unknown ruler and nobleman”

Feel’s very Patrick! But still not a whiff of Guinness.

Aha! Turns out Patrick is the middle name he goes by, so what about his first name?

Herbert! Surely, that’s Irish?! Because it really sounds it!

  • Anglo Saxon for “Bright famous ruler”


Did his parents choose the two names for the meanings?

The sisters aren’t aware of that, but they are aware Patrick is a famous bright nobleman!

“He is so alert; he knows everyone. You can’t get down the street without being stopped over and over again.”

Pat is loving this statement!

“In fact, for Pat’s 65th, we put a big bash on. A lot of people dropped out because Covid was starting, but still 60 people turned up! We went out with a bang DJing and dancing to Pat’s favourite bandThe Wurzels whilst eating Pat’s favourite cake – Fruitcake!”

Says Val,

Patrick loving “The Wurzel’s”

This birthday, is more humble in keeping with the last two, fish and chips at his sister’s, but Pat’s happy with that – well, sausage and chips to be precise.

Last-ditch attempt – “Wheeler”! – Is Wheeler Irish?

A quick spin of the google wheel lands us back in England, Worcestershire, to be precise -“He who makes wheels,”

Patrick loves wheels, car wheels, pottery wheels, big wheels, once he even got stuck on the London Eye!

So it’s becoming clear Patrick was named after St Patrick because he was born on St Patrick’s day (just like they told me at the beginning)!

Still, I think it’s interesting that he was born 1493 years to the day in the area where St Patrick passed.


To be precise (again), St Patrick is traceable to Glastonbury Abbey, but it is unclear if he is buried here or there (Ireland).

Okay, I’m not ready to give up yet. Are there any other connections, I wonder?

St Patrick is known as God’s eyes, ears and wisdom for protection from anything Pagan, such as witches, wizards, warlocks (and snakes, apparently)

Val says that Patrick sadly went blind when he caught meningitis and tuberculosis at the tender age of nine. They recall how life changed overnight. With both sisters reasonably close in age, they had to grow up fast.

“We had to become adults overnight,”

Say’s Val

As she recalls how Patrick became the priority and how it took the whole family to teach Patrick to walk and eat again.

Avril agrees, and tells us taught herself braille, but Patrick and his mum never wanted to learn because one night Patrick went to sleep, and in the morning, his eyesight went, so both Pat and his mum clung to the hope that one day when he opened his eyes, his sight would return.

Patrick is 67 this St Patrick’s Day, and is ready now to learn braille, something Delmore Road are soon to be supporting him to do.

St Patrick was taken away from his home at the age of 16.

Similarly, this, too, happened to Patrick during his adolescent years when the authorities told the family he had to go to residential school.

Patrick’s sisters think the authorities did this to foster Patrick’s independence because the family were so close-knit, but there was only one place Patrick wanted to be – home.

So home is where he returned and stayed until 1999. By then, mum had passed, and it was getting too much for dad, then 73.

There was concern that Patrick wouldn’t settle again, but Patrick has gone from strength to strength in supported living, especially since he came to Delmore Road in 2004.

It’s particularly lovely for his sister Avril, a retired support worker herself; she has worked with some of Patrick’s housemates and staff.

She tells me how she sat with an autistic man, talking to him for hours, days, weeks, and he would never respond. Then, finally, years after she left, she saw him out shopping, and he came over to her to tell her how much he missed her.

“That made me cry – support work is the best job in the world,” she says.

Val voices the relief she feels now Patrick is thriving, how fantastic it is to have the pressure off, now they aren’t getting any younger either.

Avril agrees,

“Let’s not dress it up as all flowers and rainbows because it’s not, it’s hard having to grow up so fast and always being in the shadows, as a job, it’s great because you can go home at the end of the day.”

The sisters tell me that Patrick didn’t do a thing at home, for many reasons, not least his cheeky sense of humour!

“He knows exactly how to set people up and get what he needs!”

They say in Unison!

Patrick is laughing a rumbled laugh; he knows alright!

Keinan, the manager (pictured) tells us that he was helping Patrick change a shoe on his first shift, and Patrick shouted, “OUCH!” Horrified, he goes to fetch the manager returning to find Patrick in heaps of laughter!

Patrick is now saying “OUCH!” As Keinan presses down on his hand to have his handprint in clay, something Pat and his sisters are doing to remember all their spring birthdays.

“Yeah, right!” says Keinan as Patrick laughs!

It’s clear that all have a great bond. The sisters clearly care deeply about their cheeky little bro, as they tell me that now Patrick has a sense of Delmore road being his home.

“He likes us to visit, but not for too long, and if we take him out, eventually he will ask to go home. We think this is excellent. Delmore Road is his home, and he knows it. It’s incredible the things he has achieved since being in supported living, he never did anything before, we didn’t let him really, we thought that was supporting him, but now we know better.”

Says Avril,

Since Patrick came into supported living, he has frequented funfairs, musicals, swimming, and travelled abroad to France and Italy.

Australia is next on the list. Not even St Patrick made it that far, even with his army, horse and cart, whereas this Pat has a certificate for taking a horse and cart out by himself.

There’s a lot of life left in this joyful Patrick. A true saint to work with, whose wonderful sense of humour brings joy to each and every one he meets. Anyone who gets to work with him is truly blessed.

Happy birthday Patrick! May you experience all the sunshine and joy you give out to others.

Enjoy your fruit cake – and drops. Patrick loves fruit cake – and drops.

Keinan gets out the fruit drops to show me; they look like giant fruit sweets. Designed by someone whose mum had dementia, they are 95% water and full of electrolytes to help Patrick’s water intake.

Avril’s support worker background shows as she motivates Pat to drink. It’s not something he will naturally do. She does it so well, counting with him how long he can do it for – he reaches 20 seconds.

Being around Patrick, his family and his supported living team is heartwarming, huge gratitude to all of them for sharing their story with us.

If you would like to be part of their lives too, join the team here.

The Dimensions group (which Discovery is a part of) is awarded as one of the UK’s Best Workplaces for Wellbeing by Great Places To Work (2022)