Caroling care home residents get festive surprise from penguins

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Care home residents could pick up not one but two penguins when they were joined by some feathery friends for festive fun. Widget and Pringle turned heads when they waddled through the doors of Colne View in Halstead, Essex, to join the residents, their families, team members, and local people, for a special Christmas singalong.

They were there to add an unusual touch to this year’s Doorstep Carols service and were a big hit with both young and old alike.

Resident Ruth Silverlock, aged 86, said: “It was so wonderful seeing the penguins.

“I was surprised at how tame they were. They were quite happy just sitting on my lap and they seemed to enjoy the attention from everyone.”

Monica Boldeata, Home Manager at Colne View, said: “We had a wonderful time getting into the festive spirit with help from our feathered friends – it’s not every day we have penguins running around the home.”

She added: “The residents had a fantastic time singing their favourite Christmas classics and sharing festive memories with their relatives and friends, as well as meeting some new faces.

“Everyone here at Colne View are now feeling well and truly ready for Christmas and we’re looking forward to continuing the festivities over the coming days.

“I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who came – especially Widget and Pringle – and wish everyone a merry Christmas.”

The penguins were brought to the home by a company called Amazing Animals.

Doorstep Carols was born during the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to inspire the nation to take to their front to their front doors and sing along to well-known carols and Christmas songs. 

It started in 2020 when it raised thousands of pounds for charities through streets and neighbourhoods taking part.

The idea came from Katy Rink and Beth Heath in Shrewsbury, Shropshire who first persuaded their local radio station BBC Radio Shropshire to get on board and spread some cheer during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Last year it grew and saw events taking place in hospitals, prisons, care homes, cathedral cloisters, with Popchoir in Trafalgar Square, and under Concorde at British Aerospace.

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This year it is raising money for The Alzheimer’s Society.

Ms Rink and Ms Heath said: “It’s amazing to see people having so much fun with their neighbours and friends –  people go to town with firepits, fairy lights, mulled wine and even street bands.

“We hope that the whole community will once again be able to join together in the street for Britain’s big sing!

“It’s a wonderful Christmas tradition that brings everyone together and creates new communities on your doorsteps.”

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