A RESIDENT who had been in Bromsgrove’s Heathbrook House for almost as long as it had been open helped the home celebrate its eighth birthday.
Stefan Potiuks was born in Cherkassy, Ukraine in 1923 and lived on a farm with occasional stays in the city of L viv.
He trained as an engineer before the onset of the Second World War.
When he was 19, he was taken to Germany as forced labour and, at the end of the war, he found himself in the Russian zone of Germany.
After managing to evade being captured by Russian troops, he made his way into the Western Zone and made it to England in 1948 where he worked in several jobs in agriculture and industry.
He then became a mechanic with the Midland Red bus company.
After marrying Edith a bus conductress on his bus, he started a family and trained as a bus driver before having a long and distinguished career driving buses and coaches – both in the UK and abroad.
He retired in 1987 and in March 2007 he suffered a stroke which left him requiring full-time nursing care.
On December 21, 2007, he became one of the first Heathbrook House residents and was cared for there by the staff.
As the anniversary of the home fell in December, staff there decided to plant a Christmas tree to mark the milestone and in Stefan’s honour but sadly, since then, the fir has now become a memorial tree.
Gail Bessant, from Heathbrook House, said: “Unfortunately we lost Stefan on December 29, but his tree will be decorated every year in his honour as the longest resident to date.”