Birthday animal encounter brings back childhood memories for Joan, 94


Farm visit to Abbotts Barton care home in WinchesterFace-to-face animal encounters have brought back precious childhood memories for residents of a Winchester care home.


Among those enjoying the visit to Abbotts Barton by the Mill Cottage Farm Experience was Joan Raffety, celebrating her 94th birthday.


Joan and fellow residents were joined by relatives, staff and children to welcome a friendly collection of Golden Guernsey goats, Miniature Mediterranean donkeys plus turkeys, chickens, ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs and dogs.


There was personal interest for Joan in the chance to stroke two-year-old hen Martha, a Polish Frizzle bantam resplendent in golden curly plumage.


Joan, who was born and brought up in Norfolk, said: “She’s lovely. Meeting her reminded me of being a young girl in the 1920s. Everyone had chickens in their backyards in those days. We were no different. We had bantam hens and I remember collecting the fresh eggs every morning.”


Team members at the Worthy Road home, including nurse Shelley Ford, brought along their children to meet the farm visitors too. Afterwards, staff laid on afternoon tea for everyone.


Farm visit to Abbotts Barton care home in WinchesterActivities Organiser Janet Orchard said: “Visits like this are an ideal way to rekindle memories of the gift of animal companionship. We have some residents with farming backgrounds and others who simply had pets when they were younger. It was a real joy to see the smiles on the faces of the residents and children as they were introduced to the animals.”


Based in Alton, the Mill Cottage Farm Experience specialises in educational and recreational animal visits to care homes, schools and other venues.


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