Festivities for Devizes care home ResidentsDecember at Market Lavington, in Devizes, has got off to a wonderful start with lots of exciting events and activities taking place for Residents at the 80-bed residential, nursing and dementia care home. 

In the first week of December, Residents took a trip to the local ‘Lavington School’. For Residents who have lived locally, they will remember when Lavington school was established in 1962 as a secondary modern school. Since then, it has expanded and in 2018 the school gained a sixth form, (partnering with Devizes school.) This bit of history was a great talking point among a group of Residents, who were invited on a trip to Lavington school. Pupils at the school were joined by various local primary schools to watch the school’s first performance of ‘Sister Act’.

Not knowing what to expect, Residents Angela Wakeley, Dennis Mason and Phillip Kelley, accompanied by Wellbeing Coordinators Michaela Powell and Riaz Ali, entered the school’s assembly hall to see it all decorated with stained glass window displays, and the stage ready for the show.

As the lights dimmed and the children came out on stage for their first song, the room filled with music, song and dance and for the next hour, everyone watched in awe as a story unfolded right in front of their eyes. 

There was laughter, amazement and smiles as the show came to an end. The whole cast entered the stage for one big bow which was met with a room filled with clapping.

Angela commented, “It’s amazing how they can all remember their lines.”

Dennis added, “I think they did very well, I enjoyed it all the way through and so glad that I came along.”

The Residents thoroughly enjoyed themselves, they were all smiling throughout the performance and said how much they enjoyed it on the journey home.

Michaela said, “It was so nice of the school to invite our Residents to watch their performance, they had a wonderful time, every time I looked over at all three of them, they had a huge smile on their faces.”

Phillip remarked, “I had a great time, we even got offered chocolates before and after!”

And the excitement didn’t stop there, on Thursday December 8th another local school came to visit for carol singing at Market Lavington Care Home

Pupils from St Barnabas C of E school visited to sing carols to the Residents of HC-One, which has been a tradition for many years. 

The school has and Market Lavington both share the same values and beliefs in the importance of inter-generational activities and always jump at the chance for an exciting event or activity for both pupils, teacher, Residents and Colleagues to interact and enjoy.

Laura Emm, the teacher of the nursery class who accompanied the children, said, “We always enjoy coming here and the children always get excited about these visits! Half of the children here today are new to the school so this is their first visit, and half of them came last year, and they do remember some of your Residents from their previous visit!”

The children performed a few original songs from their own Christmas play, and also performed well-loved traditional hymns such as ‘Away in a Manger’, ‘Little Donkey’ and ‘Jingle Bells’.

The Residents adored all the songs and could be clearly seen softly singing along to some of the songs, particularly ‘Away in a Manger’, which Residents Violet Lloyd, Dennis Scurrell, Audrey Jessop and Rona Bushell all sang along to!

Violet said, “It is wonderful, they are all so good.”

Rona added, “Charming! It was all so charming! Lovely. Thank you so much.” 

The home’s kitchen team, led by the Kitchen Manager John Forni, supplied an incredible platter of cakes for the children and teachers, as well as hot chocolate with marshmallows and plenty of fresh fruit too.

 The children were thrilled by this at the end of their little concert, as were the teachers!

Riaz Ali, Wellbeing Coordinator, commented, “To have contact with children in this way, listening to them sing carols, and watching the gaiety and liveliness in their performances, brought a lot of joy to the Residents! Some became tearful, in a very positive way, as it brought back cherished, loving memories of themselves and their own children performing in school too, so many years ago.”

“A big thank you once again to St Barnabas for bringing so much laughter and joy to the Residents of Market Lavington! May our collaborative, happy relationship long continue between the school and the care home!”

And it didn’t stop there, with even more exciting events planned. On Tuesday 13th December, ‘String Beans’ string quartet band arrived at Market Lavington to play for Residents. 

The group, which comprised of a violin, two violas and a cello, played by retired teachers Tim Price, Karen Cannings, Diana King and Trish Gange, put on an amazing performance for everyone to listen to. 

The quartet played a wide selection of music, from ‘Folk Songs for Strings’ by John Autumn, to a selection of Christmas hymns and carols, and even a rendition of the theme tune from the movie ‘The Sting’, known as The Entertainer, composed by Scott Joplin. 

Riaz commented, “One of my personal favourites was their rendition of ‘The Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairy’ from The Nutcracker Suite – this was sublime and I loved the way they all started playing staccato fashion, plucking the strings of their instruments rather than using their bows, before slowly bringing in the bows to add texture to the piece. Absolutely beautiful!”

The Residents were enthralled and completely captivated by the performance, clapping enthusiastically at the end of each piece.

Very few Residents had ever seen or heard a string quartet live in their time, so this was a first experience for them, and they were all taken aback by the quality of their musicianship. It was emotional for them – in a very positive and life-affirming way!

Phyllis Shellard, who lives at the care home, said, “I would love to see them again. They were so good!”

Fellow Resident Frank Anderson, got reminiscing, “If I could still play the clarinet like I used to, I would have asked to join in!”

Riaz added, “This group wanted nothing for their performance, playing for free and giving up their precious time, just for the care home, and I am touched by their kindness. I will certainly be booking them again in a month or so!”