Harrogate care home residents perform festive classic ‘The Night Before Christmas’

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Pictured: Pat Baldwin, age 87.

Residents at Manor House care home in Harrogate, run by not-for-profit care and housing provider Anchor Hanover, have recorded a special rendition of the classic festive poem ‘The Night Before Christmas’ – kickstarting the festive season to bring joy to the nation in a year when Christmas will look very different.

With the arts industry forced to close venues and cancel shows for the best part of 2020, Anchor Hanover’s research found that many older people (41%) have missed the arts, music and going to live performances. 

Recognising these challenges and determined to provide enjoyment and fulfilment, the care home recorded the performance to be shared online for the public, to lift the nation’s spirits and help ensure Christmas continues to be a magical time. 

Surrounded by a warming fireplace adorned with stockings and garlands, and perched next to piles of presents, Manor House care home residents Colin Lund, age 76, and Pat Baldwin, age 87, read the festive poem to children and adults across the country, from the comfort of their armchair.  

With Anchor Hanover’s research showing that 76% of the public are planning to use technology to stay connected with their loved ones, the video aims to digitally unite the generations and bring a smile to faces nationwide in a way that only the arts can. 

Helen Maude, Activity Coordinator at Anchor Hanover’s The Manor House care home in Harrogate, said:

“We know our residents love interacting with children and, before the coronavirus restrictions, we regularly invited children into the home to join in fun activities with our residents.

“It’s been a tough year for everyone in the country so we wanted to do something which would bring the two generations together while still maintaining social distancing and this seemed the obvious fun solution.

“The residents have loved taking part and I know the stories will bring smiles to the faces of children this Christmas season.”

Pat Baldwin (87), resident at The Manor House in Harrogate, said:

“Books are important to capture children’s imaginations and open their eyes to the world. I enjoyed reading ‘The Night Before Christmas’ because it is a story typical of all things traditional at Christmas.”

Packed festive calendar 

This year, Anchor Hanover’s care home calendars are packed with celebrations, including a Christmas Extravaganza, with arts and crafts, festive cooking, Christmas themed quizzes, and a live virtual performance of Christmas carols from an entertainer. Keeping the panto spirit alive, care homes will also be recording scenes of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, which will be edited into a special pantomime for all residents to enjoy on Boxing Day.

Colleagues and residents will be taking part in a range of one-minute festive challenges, using inflatable candy cane hockey sticks to shoot candy sweets into a pop-up football net, as well as competing to build the tallest Christmas tree using plastic cups. Anchor Hanover has also created a handy Christmas Craft guide for residents in retirement schemes, to encourage them to get creative this festive season, from making their own tree decorations, picture frames and cards to baking delicious treats.

Jane Ashcroft CBE, Chief Executive of Anchor Hanover said: 

“Christmas is such a special time and every year our colleagues go above and beyond to transform our care homes into Winter Wonderlands and create a magical experience for residents. With much of panto season cancelled and many festive performances not going ahead, we wanted to create our own special performance that is available for all to enjoy. Although this year will be different, and many families will be missing time spent with their loved ones, we will continue to lift spirits, make people smile and create a truly festive atmosphere at all our homes.”

To watch the videos, and find out more about how Anchor Hanover care homes are celebrating Christmas this year, please visit: www.anchorhanover.org.uk/caring-at-christmas  

Pictured: Colin Lund, age 76.
Pictured: Pat Baldwin, age 87.

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