Recent events at Freda Gunton Lodge, Colchester

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Recent news from Freda Gunton Lodge about their poetry competition, a visit by a mobile petting zoo, and interaction with music.

Poetry Competition

A poetry competition was held for the residents during our ‘Spring into Spring’ fund raising afternoon. Poems were put up on a board for all to read, people voted for their favourite poem by ticking against their choice.

 Babs Loveless (left), seen here at the recent launch of the FaNs (Community Friends and Neighbours) programme
Babs Loveless (left), seen here at the recent launch of the FaNs (Community Friends and Neighbours) programme

We had lots of entries, including one from our PAT dogs! It was a difficult decision to choose the winner but the winning entry was written by Barbara Loveless who won tea and cakes for two at Patisserie Valerie.

Babs, who trained as an instructor with the Keep Fit Association, runs twice weekly Movement to Music classes for our residents. This is very popular with residents and also staff, who can be heard in the corridors singing along to the accompanying music. Her music ranges from Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson. Babs cleverly interprets movement to her choice of music.

Babs has little interest in poetry and writing her entry was, ‘On the spur of the moment’, a natural progression of thought to write something that combined her love of the sun and our springing into spring.

Here is her winning entry:

Shall we go out in the sunshine
And look at the lovely view?
Let’s have a really good time
And find someone to talk to
We can have a nice cup of tea
And maybe a Hot Cross Bun
We’ll have a good chat, you and me
Spring has sprung and it should be fun!
The first day of spring is 20th March

Opportunity to stroke a chicken
Opportunity to stroke a chicken

Animal month

As part of April being National Pet Month we invited a mobile petting Zoo into our home. Both residents and staff had great fun holding Lola and Lawrence the playful meerkats, Fifi the striped skunk (thankfully de-scented), Stanley the chinchilla and other mammals. Seeing a gentleman who is struggling to come to terms with his transition to our home, holding a baby chick – transformed, the weight of the world lifted from his shoulders in a few moments. We all wanted to hold the animals, age barriers were forgotten. Excitement, smiles and laughter joined us all as one. A really wonderful afternoon for everyone!

A fun loving meerkat
A fun loving meerkat

We heartily recommend it to all! Some staff have booked parties for grandchildren and one male staff member joked that a meerkat would make him irresistible to the girls at his local pub! His plans to katnap Lola were unfortunately / fortunately thwarted!

As a home we try to provide a varied monthly activity sheet and ideas are invited and encouraged at Residents’ meetings. We are also very lucky to have creative and talented staff who are willing to share their ideas to bring out residents’ hidden talents.

Time to make friends with a skunk
Time to make friends with a skunk

We welcome people from the community and are building up a party of volunteers who add an extra dimension, in channelling interests and maintaining residents’ identities. This is providing much more than an activity, as in the case of the resident who is now unable to use his computer to write his memoirs – One of our volunteers now helps by typing for him whilst he dictates. This preserves his identity and his sense of purpose for living.


Music is a language all can enjoy as it covers many moods and can open doors in the minds of everyone. From Elvis tribute acts to rock ‘n roll evenings, cockney knees ups and piano recitals there is something for everyone.

‘Musically Minded’ have proved a great success in encouraging positive interaction with music. Shaun has been coming on a regular monthly basis. Residents who at first seemed unsure of using instruments, such as bongo drums, have given us positive feedback and his visits are a looked forward to event. ‘Great fun’ said one and smiling faces were evident.

For more information please contact: Tania O’Keefe Care Home Manager

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