Beauty and the Beast visit proves age is no barrier to making friends

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Cast members of Moyles Court School’s production of Beauty and the Beast.

Children performing a classic fairy tale on a New Forest stage have used the occasion to strengthen their friendship with residents at a nearby nursing home.

A party from Colten Care’s Brook View in West Moors, Dorset, were the guests of honour at a dress rehearsal of Moyles Court School’s Beauty and the Beast.

The visitors, including 101-year-old Esme Bannister, were enchanted by a cast of around 50 actors whose ages ranged from 16 years down to just seven.

Esme said: “They were so lovely to look at, and they put in such a lot of effort. It was really wonderful to watch.”

On arrival in their minibus at Ibsley Village Hall north of Ringwood, Esme and fellow Brook View residents were welcomed by school pupils and staff before taking up the best seats in the house with a close-in view of the live action.

It was the second time in just over a month that the family-run care home and independent school have spent time together.

At Christmas, a pupils’ choir from Moyles Court visited Brook View to entertain residents with carol singing.

Moyles Court Headteacher Richard Milner-Smith said: “We’re always keen to develop links with the community and the interaction with Brook View is a great way for the pupils to learn how to be around our older generation.

“It can be nerve wracking for some children when they perform for older people but when they see the smiles and reaction on these residents’ faces it gives them a real confidence boost.”

Brook View team member Lucy Lester, who accompanied the residents, said: “Intergenerational activities like this are so valuable for our residents and just go to show it’s never too late to make new friends.”

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