Loughton care home residents sing the praises of ‘superb’ Ugandan children’s choir

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Residents at a Loughton care home were moved in more ways than one when they were visited by a children’s choir from East Africa.

The performance was a first for both Woodland Grove care home on Rectory Lane and the children of the Watoto choir from Uganda, who had never danced and sang for elderly people before.

The children, who are mostly orphans because of war, poverty or HIV/AIDS, visited the home as part of a six-month tour of the UK.

“The choir was fantastic,” said home manager, Leigh Burrell.  “The energy the children brought into the home was amazing.  We are delighted that they chose to come to us.  The residents never expected to see young people from so far away and having the chance to spend time together afterwards was something they all enjoyed.” View the video here

Woodland Grove is a purpose-built care home which offers residential, nursing and dementia care for 72 people.

Resident Joan Hall commented; “The children were so lovely and very talented.  We are privileged to have had them here.  They moved me to tears on several occasions!”

The children are supported by Watoto, a Christian charity in Uganda.  It offers them a home, an education and the opportunity to develop life skills as they tour the UK and the Netherlands with the choir.  The charity also supports widows and other vulnerable women in and around the country’s capital, Kampala.

Team leader, Richard Opio, said the children, aged seven to 12 years old, had got a huge amount out of their visit.

“This group has never performed for elderly people so it was a very different experience for them,” he said.  “The majority of them have lost their parents and don’t have older relatives in their lives.  It was important for us to bring them here.  They’ve really benefited from being able to talk to people of this generation.”

Seven-year-old Jackson Odongpiny agreed.

“It was a little bit different for us.  We dance a lot when we sing and people usually dance with us, but it was great to see how people smiled and clapped.  I liked talking to them afterwards, it was like having a grandparent to talk to.  They were really nice and I hope we perform for more people like them.”

The choir ended their performance with a blessing song and hugged all the residents before they left.

“The choir was superb,” said resident D’reen Cairns.  “Several of them came up to me afterwards, and one of the taller young men flung his arms around me and gave me a kiss.  I thought it was nice that we should all be so friendly!”

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