We’re proud to be supporting Housing Day 2020 – now in its eighth year, #HousingDay has played an important role in raising the profile of the social housing sector and ensuring the voices of residents and leaseholders are heard.

The theme for this year is ‘The importance of home’, which ties in with the national ‘Homes at the Heart’ campaign calling for a once-in-a-generation investment in social housing.

This cross-sector campaign has been setup to highlight the crucial role, decent, safe and genuinely affordable housing plays, not only in times of crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic, but always.

Chief executive John Clark said: “PCH is an organisation with a strong social purpose and people at the heart of everything we do. We want to retain and improve our existing social housing and build more genuinely affordable homes for the benefit of people in the city who need somewhere they can call home.”  

Throughout the day we’ll be revisiting just some of the truly inspiring stories we’ve heard over the last few years of the amazing things our residents have done, lived through and seen. 

We start this morning with war hero, Bill Bannister.

Bill lived in Devonport for his entire life despite sailing around the world with the Royal Navy. Bill was dispatched to rescue evacuees during the Spanish Civil War and was at Scapa Flow when the Royal Oak was torpedoed by a German submarine costing 833 men their lives.

His family home was bombed during the Blitz and left him and his family homeless. In 1942 Bill married his sweetheart Gladys and they were married for 58 years before she passed away.

Bill was involved in a raid on St Nazaire docks – and was forced to make a will as there were no survivors expected. The raid worked and Bill was able to pull aboard any survivors and beat a hasty retreat.

One can only imagine some of the things Bill has seen, but we should be immensely proud of him, as should Devonport itself. Devonport is a place you could say that was Bill was familiar with. He was born and raised there, saw it devastated by war, watched as it was rebuilt , in recent years has seen it regenerated – he has been all over the world, yet it was the place he called home.