April 10 2017
Care UK care homes were joined by the local community and special guests to enjoy a day of singing in celebration of the forces’ sweetheart’s milestone birthday, and turned back the clock to sing the popular wartime song, “We’ll Meet Again”.
A special tribute video wishing Vera Lynn happy birthday was created by team members and residents, who shared memories of the iconic singer.
Heather View care home in Crowborough hosted a sing-along, where residents Alice ‘Vera’ Ashby, aged 101, and Vera Pritchard, aged 100 were guests of honour.
Beatrice Gale, a resident at St Vincent’s House in Hammersmith, shares the same birthday with the iconic singer, and as well as taking part in the sing-along, she was joined by friends and family to celebrate turning 103 years old.
Residents at Glastonbury Court in Bury St Edmunds were joined by the Horringer Court School Choir, who performed a showcase of wartime classics to mark the special occasion.
At Appleby House in Epsom, residents were joined by nurses and service personnel from Headley Court for the celebration and sing-along. Local singer Frances Fry performed a selection of songs from the era to get everybody in the party spirit.
Home manager at Appleby House, Shona Bradbury, said: “We had a brilliant day celebrating Vera Lynn’s 100th birthday and the residents thoroughly enjoyed singing memorable hits from their younger years.
“Singing can be a powerful reminiscence activity, and many of the residents will have grown up listening to Vera Lynn’s music. Even when memories become hard to remember, often music can still be recalled, so a group sing-along can be calming, particularly for those living with dementia, and can encourage older people to talk about memories from their younger years.
“Everyone enjoyed celebrating Vera Lynn’s special day and it was fantastic to be involved in the special tribute video.”
Everyone got in the party spirit at Priors House in Leamington Spa for the birthday celebration. The Care UK team dressed in period attire including military uniform and 1940s frocks, complete with hair rollers. Local singer, Maggie O’Hara provided live entertainment, and there were also wartime themed refreshments, including spam, and jam and sugar sandwiches.
BBC Newsnight also visited the care home to find out more about the sing-along, and spoke with residents to discuss their memories of Vera Lynn.
At Cavell Court in Cringleford, residents and visitors enjoyed watching a documentary based on Vera Lynn’s life, and enjoyed a special afternoon tea – complete with homemade birthday cake.
Perry Manor care home in Worcester embraced the wartime theme by making red and blue bunting for the celebration, and everyone got in the party spirit with 1940s music from local singer Martin Leonard.