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Work of the Royal Variety Charity

The Royal Variety Charity assists those who've worked professionally in the entertainment industry and are in need of help. The charity strives to support all those, both young and old, who've worked on the stage, in the wings, in front of a camera, or behind it, as well as all those who have spent their lives working in the numerous support industries dedicated to entertainment.

The Royal Variety Charity owns and manages its own residential and nursing care home for entertainers, Brinsworth House in Twickenham, and also offers a nationwide grant scheme to assist those living in their own homes wherever they reside in the UK. The Royal Variety Charity not only offers support to those who have found themselves struggling as a result of ill health, financial hardship or old age, but also assists the dependants of all those who have professionally served the entertainment industries.



“My Uncle has been in Brinsworth House for many years. I live in Australia and have been to visit him on many occasions when my husband was alive.  We had meals with him which were extremely tasty.  I am happy he is being so well looked after. The staff are very caring and nothing is too much trouble.  It is not like a home where people are left and then forgotten, it is like staying in a first class Hotel, with all the services one needs. I would recommend Brinsworth House to anyone.”

 -       Jeannette Jordan,  niece of John Harris/Weston

 “Our mother, Ann Goddard, came to Brinsworth House in April 2008 following the death of her husband, Willoughby.   As you can imagine she was very sad and lost without him.   From the moment Ann came to you, we experienced peace of mind because she was welcomed immediately by you all and made to feel that she was a special member of the Brinsworth family.    All of the staff treated her with care, consideration and respect.    When we took her out she was always eager to return to Brinsworth which she always referred to as home. We are deeply and eternally grateful to the Brinsworth team for making Ann’s final days so comfortable.”

 -       Perry and Cathy Goddard

 “Our mother was a resident at Brinsworth house for 6 years until her death in August 2014. I cannot praise highly enough the professional care and the warm and loving treatment she received from all the staff. And my sisters and I really appreciated the support that was given us during the last months of her life. I don't think we could have found a better care home for her. Thank you.  And it's true - Brinsworth has a real warmth about it which I don't think you'd find in many other residential homes.”

 -      Laura Stewart, daughter of Brenda Calland

 "It came as a great comfort to know that after a decade of occasional 'respite' days for my disabled wife, Barbara, that when more intensive care was needed, Brinsworth House could be relied upon to become a 'home from home' for her. We were able to entrust Barbara to a team that showed great care, love and dedication to her well-being and happiness."

 -      Mario Campanale and sons, Anthony, Mark and David

 “Handing over one’s mother to the care of others is a heart-breaking and nerve wracking decision.  After looking round many homes we were so blessed to find Brinsworth house with its warm and welcoming atmosphere, the calibre of the nursing staff and carers was faultless right through to the catering staff where nothing is too much trouble.  Our mother has sadly now passed away but she was looked after with loving care to the very end aged 98.  Thank you Brinsworth House.

 -       Carolyn Gordon and Sarah North

 “Brinsworth House was kind enough to let Mum live in the BBC room.I was so pleased that she could eat with the other residents in the dining room where real, fresh food was prepared for daily meals. I was able to join her to have lunch with I did twice a month or so and even had a glass of wine from the bar which seemed to be highly efficient, caring and civilised. She and I also watched films together, using the remote to bring up the sub-titles so she could hear. When I picked her up on Xmas morning so she could come back to my flat and have lunch with me and the grandchildren, she was deeply absorbed in Gone with the Wind so I relaxed and we were both offered a glass of champagne and chocolates.I would also visit her to take part in the physical activities and we had some truly happy times doing our chair exercises to our beloved jazz music. The staff were intelligent, caring and specialised. Often I arrived feeling worried and was offered a cup of coffee by the catering staff and the groundsmen were always there to help me carry Mum's stuff in and out of the car and up to her room. After my mother's death I wanted to thank Brinsworth House for their care and now I am a volunteer. Thank you so much everyone for looking after Doris Onions who, by the way, trained as a speech and drama lecturer (at the London Royal Academy of Music )so perhaps finished where she should have been after all.”

 -      Sarah Onions

“My Aunt Rosemary was lucky enough to be able to spend the last two years of her life of her life at Brinsworth House and what a beautiful home to be in. She was happy there and all the staff were so good to her that it didn’t take very long for her to settle in. I was very happy for her to be there, she had a nice light room with some of her own belongings from home with her. Lovely clean clothes put on the bottom of her bed for her always. Good meals, and best of all, staff who were always there for her when she needed them. I certainly did not find fault with it anywhere. Thank you Brinsworth for looking after her so wel

Lanilee Gibbs


“It is so comforting and reassuring to know that our loved and treasured friends and family from the world of entertainment are looked after in the most respectful and dignified manner.  The devotion, dedication and caring of the hand-picked staff is superb and goes well above the call of duty. Residents, family and friends are all welcomed with a warmth and generosity of spirit that is truly unique.   I cannot fault the dedication of the nursing staff in the way they cared for Kenny Gibson you were magnificent, and all of your nursing staff are angels.”

 -       Sue Kennett

 “Having been a visitor of Brinsworth House for many years, I have found the nursing care and welfare of my relative to be excellent. Most of all I appreciate being quickly informed on all matters of health and wellbeing. Brinsworth House is always kept in a very good homely condition. The staff are very welcoming to friends and family and the facilities provided for the residents are very varied to cater for all.”

 -       Marion Paddon


“I am the nephew of Alf Pearson, one half of the musical duo Bob and Alf Pearson, “My Brother and I”. Alf spent the last five years of his life in Brinsworth and I know he was no model resident, probably because as a life-long bachelor he keenly felt the loss of independence. But the care and affection he received from all the staff was priceless. I visited Alf several times a week, easy in view of my proximity, and the same hospitality was always extended to me. I have nothing but praise, admiration and gratitude for the huge effort that everyone made to ensure Alf’s time at Brinsworth was as comfortable, interesting and supportive as possible.”


-       Rob McKeith


“My eldest sister Cathie was a resident at Brinsworth House for many years; she was an actress who sadly went blind. I live in York bringing up three daughters so my visits were spasmodic and infrequent, but I never found Cathie unhappy, she always looked well cared for and seemed content to be with like-minded people of the theatre. Cathie and her family could not have asked for more.”

-      Irene Taylor

Alan "Fluff" Freeman & Brinsworth House

"Alan never tired of praising the folks who run Brinsworth House. When it became clear that he could no longer look after himself, he was welcomed into Brinsworth’s care with warmth and professionalism. In particular, he struck up a mutually rewarding friendship with fellow resident Eileen Greenwood and counted the staff as a very real ’soul mates’. Until his voice faltered, he would travel into London on a weekly basis to record ‘Their Greatest Bits’, the Radio Two programme that at the end of his career saw him return to his first love – the world of Opera and Classical music. I have no doubt that but for all that Brinsworth’s supporters make possible, his extended career, and the pleasure it brought to millions would not have been possible. Thank you to all at Brinsworth and to the Benevolent Fund".

Tim Blackmore

Dame Thora Hird & Brinsworth House

"When my Mother, Dame Thora Hird, moved into Brinsworth House for what turned out to be the last few months of her life, many people were surprised.Here she was with 5 BAFTA’s and an American Emmy Award for heavy and dramatic roles, numerous “straight” plays in London’s West End and a career count of over 500 plays in theatres up and down the land. And although her television career had included half a dozen comedy series she was best known for her Alan Bennett “Talking Heads” plays and her 20 years of “Songs of Praise” the BBC Sunday program.But if you scratched the surface a little you would soon discover strong links and friendships with Variety.Her Father, James Hird, started his career as a strolling Minstral on the sands in Morcombe, Lancs, and, her Mother, Marie Mayor met him while appearing in a summer show on the Central Pier.In the 1950’s Thora herself did many “Summer Seasons” in broad comedy plays at the Grand Theatre in Blackpool, Scarlborough, Torquay, Southsea, Bournemouth etc. and during each of these summers she struck up friendships that she kept going through the years. So it was no surprise to me that in her ninety’s when she needed a little help and tender loving care that she asked to visit Brinsworth House.

Sure enough, as we walked in, she met old and dear friends and started trading storiesand memories, from Blackpool Circus, the Black and White Minstral Show to a pianist who had accompanied her as she entertained troops during World War II. She moved in for “a rest” shortly afterwards and although she still made a couple of appearances in “Last of the Summer Wine” (a TV series that she had been in for over 16 years) it became very difficult for her to continue working.

It was as this point that the wisdom and understanding of the staff became so very important.With total love and patience they cared for her and showed kindness and thoughtfulness beyond anything I have ever encountered.They helped her and they helped me and I will never forget them all.

My heartfelt thanks to you Brinsworth House you are truly amazing in the job you do. Bravo!!"

Janette Scott

The Royal Variety Charity's help is UK-wide and is offered in numerous ways; sometimes with financial assistance for medical & nursing needs, or for general help with household repairs & maintenance, sometimes for funeral & travelling costs, and in some extreme cases, for debt crisis and supplementary pensions. Sometimes our help is given by simply giving practical advice and moral support.

 Brinsworth House stands as a place of safety, peace, happiness and tranquility. Appropriately named 'The Old Pro's Paradise', Brinsworth House is a fully-equipped home, entirely compliant with the requirements of the Committee for Social Care Inspectorate, and our dedicated staff are continually on hand to care for the many needs of each resident. We provide regular services such as visits from doctors, chiropodists, opticians, physiotherapists, and pastoral care for all faiths.

At Brinsworth House we are proud of our regular in-house entertainment, hosting regular performances, but our help is far more wide reaching, including weekly bingo, various annual functions such as Christmas parties, Valentine's parties and Easter functions, and day trips to farms, museums, shows and exhibitions.

Please take a moment to watch our short two minute video on Brinsworth House:

History of the royal variety charity and brinsworth house........more

See the facilities of Brinsworth House............more

To continue our work we so welcome and need your support. Please get in touch should you feel you can help, or by simply making a donation through this website. Members of the entertainment profession have given us so very much enjoyment over so many years; many working tirelessly throughout their careers raising funds for our own chosen charities, so please give whatever you can back to them. Please make a donation to the Royal Variety Charity by linking to our Donations page by clicking here. Every pound is so gratefully welcomed and will help us to ensure that we maintain a high standard of care for our many residents and dependants around the UK.



Quick Links

  • With a team of 64 staff, Brinsworth House is a dual registered nursing home for members of the entertainment profession... read more

    Facilities at Brinsworth

  • The history of the Royal Variety Performance is breathtaking; 80 shows over 100 years; a feat unsurpassed... read more

    Royal Variety Archive

  • Please make a donation to the Royal Variety Charity by visiting this page. All major credit and debit cards are accepted.......... read more

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