Magic of Christmas at Age Concern party

THE magic of Christmas was brought to elderly residents at a turkey and tinsel extravaganza at Seacroft Holiday Village.

More than 700 pensioners enjoyed singing, dancing and turkey with all the trimmings at the Age Concern parties in Hemsby.

Smiling faces could be seen around the tinsel-decked hall, and organisers say the events meant all the more to older people who may not be able to spend Christmas Day with their loved ones.

Jackie Tierney, of Age Concern Great Yarmouth, said: “People come back every year and tell us what a great time they had.

“Lots of people were dancing in their hey day so to get back on the dance floor means such a lot to them.

“We want to get people out of the house as some people won’t see anybody over Christmas and lots of them live on their own.”

People flocked to the events on Friday and Monday from across the borough to enjoy a tea dance, Christmas singalong and entertainment from Caister Infant School Choir.

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May Nicholson, 87 of Hopton, has been attending for nearly three decades and says she looks forward to the parties for months.

“I always look forward to it when the weather starts to change,” she said. “I just like joining in and meeting people I’ve seen in other years. It takes me back.”

She added she was grateful to all the helpers who make the day out possible.

Ken Hicks, 60 of Hopton, has been enjoying the turkey and tinsel events with his wife Wendy, who he cares for, for the last five years.

“It’s always enjoyable and a brilliant day out,” he said. “The younger generations come in and sing carols, and the dancing brings back memories.”

Trish Littlefield, founder of the Hopton Ladies club for older people added: “We get here early and everybody joins in. You don’t just sit and watch.”

The Seacroft works closely with Age Concern to make the turkey and tinsel event a day to remember for all guests, and staff give a special 40pc discount to ensure older people can make it.

Caroline Brady, restaurant and retail manager at the Seacroft, said: “We always give them a special offer so more people can come. I don’t know how many times these people have been able to go out so for us this is very important and we want to make people as happy as we can.”

Andrew Forrest, chairman of Great Yarmouth Age Concern, said planning for the event begins before the summer.

“It’s a real high point in the year for us,” he added. “It’s really great to have an opportunity for people right across the borough to come together as at Christmas people can feel more lonely and isolated.”

Youngsters from Caister Infant School, Nursery and Children’s Centre were pleased to lift people’s spirits with traditional Christmas songs and their own festive tunes.

Brendan McCarney, head teacher at the school, said: “The children have been very excited about Christmas and the concerts. They’ve been working very hard learning the songs and they love the response from the older people.”

Among the other entertainment on offer was a raffle, bingo and a fashion show. Organisers wish to thank all the volunteers, staff at the Seacroft and Reynolds Coaches for their hard work.