Friendly penguin duo slides into Banbury care home for a flapping good time | Care UK

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Friendly penguin duo slides into Banbury care home for a flapping good time

February 3rd 2020

03 Penguins visit Care UKs Highmarket House_1A resident was given the surprise of her life when two friendly penguins arrived at her care home.

Mavis, an 85-year-old resident at Care UK’s Highmarket House in Banbury, told her care team her greatest wish was to see penguins, so they immediately set to work to make it happen – although she was not expecting to see them so close to home.  

The visit was part of the home’s ‘Wishing Tree’ Initiative, which encourages residents to put wishes forward, allowing them to reconnect with a past hobby or try something completely new – from flying on a plane, to enjoying a fish and chip supper, no wish is too big or small.

01 The team at Care UKs Highmarket House organise a penguin visit for resident Mavis as part of their Wishing Tree Initiative_1Mavis was amazed when the hand-reared Humboldt penguins, Pringle and Charlie, waddled into the home. She was delighted to interact with the penguins, stroking and even holding Charlie on her lap.

The penguins were brought into the home by Amazing Animals, and are friendly, relaxed and used to human contact. They live in a specially constructed enclosure, including a swimming pool, pebbled beach and penguin house at Heythrop Zoological Gardens, and are kept together in a breeding group to ensure regular social interactions.

Originating from South America, the animals are used to warm weather and can adjust to different environments. The penguins regularly meet new people and attend workshops and educational talks all around the UK, which aim to raise the general public’s awareness of conservation matters.

02 Mavis a resident at Care UKs Highmarket House gets her wish to meet penguins fulfilled_1Jo Pohl, home manager at Highmarket House, said: “At our care home with a difference we always like to go the extra-mile for residents, and make their wishes come true – no matter how unusual. Mavis has always talked about penguins with passion, so we were really excited to be able to make her dream of seeing them up close come true.

“We don’t accept that life at a care home has to be a particular way - we ensure there are no limitations to activities residents pursue and help them to lead independent, fulfilling lives, however they choose.

“Each day at our care home is different and fun, but today was something extraordinary. It was a truly wonderful moment when Mavis met the penguins and certainly created a stir in the home – we’ll be talking about this for weeks!”

Highmarket House is a state-of-the-art care home which provides full-time residential, dementia, nursing and short-term respite care. The home, which features 73 en-suite bedrooms, has been designed to enable its residents to live active and fulfilled lives, while also promoting independence. The care home incorporates space for hobby and leisure activities and includes its own cinema, hairdressing salon and café.

04 Residents at Highmarket House meet special guests penguins Charlie and Pringle_1To find out more about Highmarket House, please call Marisa Ramos on 01295 297 652 or email   

For more general information, please visit

To find out more about the Wishing Tree initiative, please visit

Watch Mavis' wish come true

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Highmarket House is a modern and welcoming home, with its own coffee shop, hair salon and cinema. Beautifully furnished lounges around the care home offers cosy spaces where residents can relax, or join in with the many activities taking place.

Highmarket House
(Behind the Cromwell Hotel)
North Bar Place
OX16 0TD

0333 321 1992

  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Residential care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care