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Bridging the generation gap in Gorleston leads to some lovely scenes in wake of Channel 4 documentary Old People’s Home for Four Year Olds

PUBLISHED: 09:22 16 August 2017

Residents of Augustine's Place Care Home at Gorleston enjoy a games afternoon with children and grandchildren of the staff or residents in a generation gap project. Alfie Gwilliam, five, plays basketball. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Residents of Augustine's Place Care Home at Gorleston enjoy a games afternoon with children and grandchildren of the staff or residents in a generation gap project. Alfie Gwilliam, five, plays basketball. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

Old folk in Gorleston have been enjoying inter-generational friendships long before TV documentary makers tugged at heartstrings with their ground-breaking series.

Residents of Augustine's Place Care Home at Gorleston enjoy a games afternoon with children and grandchildren of the staff or residents in a generation gap project. Iris Harker, five, hands 90-year-old Hilda Moore the ball. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYResidents of Augustine's Place Care Home at Gorleston enjoy a games afternoon with children and grandchildren of the staff or residents in a generation gap project. Iris Harker, five, hands 90-year-old Hilda Moore the ball. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

As well as linking with a nearby nursery residents at St Augustine’s Place have also enjoyed a visit from young children related to staff and other residents.

Manager Mandy Mills said the home decided to host a games and party day months before the programme Old People’s Home For Four Year Olds was broadcast.

And yesterday things got particularly raucous. Instead of nap time or TV time the roar of competitive sports rose up from the armchairs.

Mixed-aged teams competed for top honours in a range of disciplines including skittles and basketball.

Residents of Augustine's Place Care Home at Gorleston enjoy a games afternoon with children and grandchildren of the staff or residents in a generation gap project. Iris Harker, five, hands 90-year-old Hilda Moore the ball. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYResidents of Augustine's Place Care Home at Gorleston enjoy a games afternoon with children and grandchildren of the staff or residents in a generation gap project. Iris Harker, five, hands 90-year-old Hilda Moore the ball. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norma Vitkofsky, 84, applauded her young teammates efforts on the hoopla, even though none of them found their mark, and balled her fists in victory when scoring a crucial 50 pointer.

She said she did “pull a face at first” when she found out 20 children were coming but was “quite happy” she took part.

“It is nice to mingle with them,” she said. “And the children are very well behaved. One of them reminds me so much of my granddaughter.”

Meanwhile Christal McCracken, 72, was proving a whizz with the bean bag challenge.

Residents of Augustine's Place Care Home at Gorleston enjoy a games afternoon with children and grandchildren of the staff or residents in a generation gap project. Roy Duffield, 84, ready to throw the ball in a basketball game with his great grandchildren, Ruby Manning, four, left, and her sister, Maisie, three, and his daughter, Kim Brett. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYResidents of Augustine's Place Care Home at Gorleston enjoy a games afternoon with children and grandchildren of the staff or residents in a generation gap project. Roy Duffield, 84, ready to throw the ball in a basketball game with his great grandchildren, Ruby Manning, four, left, and her sister, Maisie, three, and his daughter, Kim Brett. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

After a humorous stand off with three-year-old Toby, pretending to hide the ball, she said that spending time with the children had brightened her day.

“I like to see children enjoying themselves,” she said. “And it makes us laugh.”

Mum Charlotte Reed bought her son Ewan, aged five, and two of his friends, to the party which saw cups of squash and chocolate Freddos circulated on trays.

She said: “They are loving it. They are really getting involved and helping the older people. It’s really nice.

“So many of my friends watched the TV programme and said they wanted to go to old people’s homes with their children. It is like adopting a grandparent.”

Mrs Mills said the home in Addison Road had seen that children “lightened the mood” and had already hosted a range of craft sessions.

Playing with children made the old folk feel wanted and had lead to some lovely scenes.

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