Lily Lowy, age 9 decided she wanted to go with her friends on a musical visit to Jewish Care’s Clore Manor home to sing to her Grandpa, Harry Helfgott, 90, a resident at the home in Hendon. Lily, who lives in Winchmore Hill, and her friend, Ora Hayes, 9, from New Barnet, came up with the idea together and asked their mums’ if they would help them to bring along a few friends from Wolfson Hillel Primary School in Southgate to sing with them at the home. There was an overwhelming response from their school friends that yesterday, 35 children from the school choir joined them to entertain Harry and the other residents at the Jewish Care home.
Lily’s mum, Janine Helfgott-Lowy said, “Lily and Ora felt so strongly about going and we wanted to support them and make their idea become a reality. We were really proud to hear Lily talk to her friends about what to expect when they meet the residents there.
“She is confident about visiting my Dad and has only ever known her grandpa since he’s been living with dementia, so she accepts him as he is today. I always visited my older relatives when I was younger and it’s good to know that the next generation values the older members of our community and understand that getting older is just another part of life.”
Before the Year 5’s sang to residents, Sharon Arad, Clore Manor’s Social Coordinator, spoke to children about what it means to live with dementia and how it can affect individuals in different ways. She also explained that many of the residents do not have families to visit them so visits like this from choirs, schools, synagogues and volunteers brighten up their day.
The choir sang a mixture of musical numbers from Mary Poppins and Hebrew songs which the residents greatly enjoyed and joined in singing and clapping for the reprieve of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Harry, along with other residents, was clearly moved by the children’s singing and chatted to them after they sang. He said to all of them, “You sang beautifully and without a conductor too.” Lily introduced her friends to her ‘Grandpops’ and introduced her friend Harry to her Grandpa, Harry, “Harry meet Harry”.
After a very uplifting emotional visit, Janine, said, “Lily and Ora set out to achieve what they wanted to achieve which was to bring enjoyment to Harry and the other residents and the whole choir enjoyed it too. They got everyone singing and clapping, it was very special and we’re all extremely proud of them all.”
Janine is a Partner at Indigo Designs and Miriam Hayes is a physiotherapist. Miriam added, “It really was music therapy for the residents who were so engaged with the choir, it was fantastic to see their enjoyment.”
Maria Dziedziurska, Care Home Manager, commented, “Music and young people bring a great deal of joy to our residents and the school choir visit really lifted their spirits today, it was great to see everyone from 9 to 90+ joining in together. The connection between Lily and her Grandpa made it a very warm visit. We enjoy opening our doors to the community at Jewish Care and we look forward to having the choir back again to visit us.”