Care homes toast ‘Rabbie’ in Burns Night celebration

Lois Barber, a resident at Colten Care's Avon Cliff in Bournemouth, enjoys a Burns poetry reading from Companionship Team Member Brian Knight.

Hundreds of residents at 21 Colten Care homes across the south celebrated Burns Night in honour of the famous 18th century bard Robert Burns.

In line with annual tradition, poetry recitals were the order of the day along with lunches and suppers featuring haggis, neeps and tatties.

While Covid constraints meant homes could not welcome visiting bagpipers and dancers as they usually do, residents nevertheless enjoyed festive fun.

At Avon Cliff in Bournemouth, Companionship Team Members Brian Knight and Rebecca Osborne wore kilts with their PPE and performed Highland dancing together.

Brian also did a tour of the home calling at residents’ bedrooms to read out selections of Burns’ poetry.

“I told him he looked very fetching in his ‘skirt’,” said Lois Barber, while fellow resident Ray Paice said: “It was very amusing and got us into the spirit of the day.” 

A number of homes decorated residents’ lounges with tartans and thistles.

Kirsty Richmond Cole, Companionship Team Leader at Outstanding-rated Amberwood House in Ferndown, Dorset, said: “We had a whole afternoon consisting of all things Scottish.

“We held a quiz to test everyone’s knowledge of Burns and invited residents to sample a range of whiskies and shortbread. 

“We discussed how whisky is made and where famous malts originate from.”

Tracey Aldin, Home Manager at Brook View in West Moors, Dorset, said the annual event had become a firm favourite with residents.

“We hold a Burns celebration every year and it always proves popular with residents from both north and south of the border,” she added.

Burns Night is a worldwide commemoration, held every year on the anniversary of ‘Rabbie’s’ birth in Ayrshire, Scotland, in 1759.

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