A TOUCH of glamour was enjoyed at a care home when a faithful visitor pulled up in the car park in an immaculate Bentley built before the Second World War.
Hugh Gray-Morris regularly ventures from his home near Llanddeusant on Anglesey to Pendine Park’s Bryn Seiont Newydd in Caernarfon to see his wife, Marilyn.
A familiar face in Holyhead through continuing to work as an optician at the age of 83, Hugh spends time tending to his beloved Bentley 3.5 Litre vehicle that was made in 1935.
Although man and machine are now in their eighties, both are still going strong and Hugh drove the car to the care home to show it to Marilyn, who has dementia.
The couple spent time by the vehicle, with its arrival in the car park attracting intrigue from care home staff.
Hugh said: “I took the Bentley to Bryn Seiont Newydd in the hope my wife would recognise it, as she was very fond of the car. She was able to come outside with me and see it.
“It seems to have gone down well with the staff, with some of them coming out to have a look. I was happy for them to do so.”
The type of Bentley owned by Hugh is commonly referred to as a Derby Bentley, as they were built in Derby after a takeover by Rolls-Royce.
The Derby Bentleys have become renowned for their endurance, with research having indicated the majority of those created during the 1930s were still in use in recent times.
Hugh purchased the vehicle about 30 years ago and has kept it in pristine condition, ensuring it remains roadworthy.
He makes the round trip of more than 50 miles from his Anglesey home in to see Marilyn on a regular basis.
With the sun shining, he decided it was a good day to get behind the wheel of the cherished red and black Bentley and take it to show his wife.
“The car is 85 years old and is still going very well,” said Hugh, who is two years younger than the vehicle.
“The design of the Bentley is exactly the same as when it was built. If you start changing things then it will lose its value.
“It is a beautiful ride in the car, but it is certainly a different experience driving it to if you use a modern car.
“The steering is quite heavy and you have to know what you are doing.”
Hugh finds the Bentley to be capable of reaching speeds of about 55mph to 60mph.
He and Marilyn, 75, shared a mutual fondness for the car and they travelled as far as Scotland together in it.
The couple have been married for more than 40 years and have a grown-up daughter, Sophie.
But in recent years the family has had to contend with Marilyn, a former civil servant, becoming beset by dementia.
This led to her moving into Bryn Seiont Newydd in 2018, with Hugh grateful for the level of care provided at the home.
“It has been a very difficult experience to see what has happened to Marilyn,” he said.
“However, I have been impressed by the care provided by Bryn Seiont Newydd.
“The staff there are very caring and friendly. They do an excellent job.
“It is nice that I get to see my wife, although it is obviously not the same as before.”
As well as ensuring the Bentley remains as good as new, Hugh keeps himself busy by continuing to work as an optician despite being long past national retirement age.
He runs the independent Robert Hugh Gray-Morris Opticians in Holyhead, working there three days a week.
The octogenarian optician’s sights are firmly set on continuing his career.
He said: “I remain busy working at the opticians and I have no plans to retire.
“I am fortunate to have such a good team of staff. They have been with me a long time and we enjoy working together.”
Sandra Evans, manager of Bryn Seiont Newydd, said Hugh’s decision to visit the care home in his Bentley was well-received by staff.
“It was lovely to see the vehicle and everybody was very impressed by it,” she said.
“Hugh is a very charming man and a popular visitor here. He regularly comes to see his wife, Marilyn, who is a lovely lady.
“It was nice that he brought the Bentley here to show her and the staff enjoyed seeing it.”