Nostalgic day of music welcomes Elvis to the building

Published: Wednesday 26 May 2021

A male and female resident sit outdoors with a cardboard cut out of Elvis at their table.

Residents of David Walker Gardens were reminded last week that they are ‘not forgotten’ … in more ways than one. 

As staff at the Rutherglen care home welcomed visiting relatives, they also set up a memory-filled afternoon of music and song to mark the emotional occasion. 

With hugging officially back on the agenda for families, some separated for so long, the soundtrack to the day came during an open-air concert provided by a national touring group whose very aim is to lift the spirits of older people during the pandemic.

Founded in 1921 by soprano Marta Cunningham, the ‘Not Forgotten Association’ (NFA) was created to provide entertainment and recreation to those who have worn their nation’s uniform. One hundred years later existing members launched a free nationwide concern tour to boost the lockdown spirits of care home residents with a series of ‘springtime specials’. Having kicked off in Kent at the end of March, David Walker Gardens is one of 100 care homes the group will visit by mid-June. 

Unit manager, Debra Allison, was full of praise for the performers on what was a day of hope and reunion for service users and their families. She said: “We managed to soak up a happy hour of sunshine between showers to allow us all to really enjoy the entertainment provided by these fabulous performers – two soloists and a double act. A highlight was the playing of an Elvis classic using only a saw and a bow!

“There was also the chance to enjoy a glass from the ‘little champagne cart’ as they enjoyed a socially distanced dance in our beautiful garden area. What a joy to see our residents and families swinging their arms in sheer delight to the music, amid the laughter and the happy thought of life returning to some form of normal.” 

Staff from David Walkers stand in the gardens with members of the Not Forgotten Association before their performance.

 

 

Residents Jeanette Graham and Elizabeth Crane were just two among the delighted audience, with Jeanette describing the music as “pure brilliant” while Elizabeth called it “the best concert I’ve ever been to”.

Added Debra: “We have spent many months supporting those we are so privileged to care for and, have done all we can along the way to alleviate the hard times that lockdown created. Events like this can make all the difference in the world to our residents, and to us, and this one was both emotional and uplifting, bringing us all renewed hope for the happy and healthy future we all so strongly desire. 

“We are hugely grateful to the NFA, who, working around the social distancing guidelines still in place for care homes, not only entertained us but boosted morale and created new and joyful memories for both residents and staff.”