Care home residents were all shook up when they paid tribute to King of Rock ‘n’ Roll in style on what would have been his 85th birthday.
The spirit of Elvis was in the building at Pendine Park’s Highfield House as the residents and staff danced the sounds of his famous hits including Blue Suede Shoes, Love me Tender and Hound Dog.
They also sang along with professional entertainer Max Chard who belted out some the King’s iconic songs on his guitar.
The special party was the brainchild of Pendine Park’s lead enrichment and activities co-ordinator Christine Lewis, who is herself a massive fan of the music legend.
She and colleague James Wallice got into the spirit of the occasion and dressed up in Elvis gear.
Elvis Aaron Presley died on August 16, 1977 at his Graceland home in Memphis, Tennessee aged just 42 but still has a legion of fans right around the world.
Christine aid: “We had a wonderful party to celebrate what would have been Elvis’s 85th birthday.
“Music plays a huge role in Pendine Park whether it’s through our long association with the Hallé orchestra, who visit regularly, or the popular music our residents enjoy listening to in the comfort of the own rooms.
“Residents really enjoy a party and the majority are also Elvis fans. And even those living with dementia seem to be able to recall the lyrics to songs so it’s really good for them to join in to.
“And it’s also an opportunity for staff to enjoy an activity and a party atmosphere with the residents they care for on a daily basis.”
She added: “I was helped in organising the event by James Wallice. James is studying politics at Cardiff University but has worked alongside me at Highfield House since he was 16 initially as a volunteer.
“James is very popular with residents and he will be missed when he returns to Cardiff to continue his studies.
“Both James and I enjoyed dressing up in Elvis gear which helped get the party going. We also had live music from local Summerhill singer Max Chard who sang lots of Elvis’ best-known hits. We really did the King proud and everyone had a wonderful time.”
James Wallice, 19, of Acton, says the party really went with a swing and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the event.
He said: “Even though Elvis died decades before I was born his songs are still so popular. Residents clearly really enjoyed hearing them and having a good old dance. It really was a cracking birthday party.
“I always miss working at Pendine Park when I go back to uni. I love the interaction with residents and I class many of them as friends. It’s always nice to see people enjoying themselves and joining in with the singing and dancing.”
Highfield House resident Lillian Moulton really enjoyed the event.
Lillian, who was herself at one time an opera singer, loves music of any sort and was always a big fan of Elvis.
Former forklift truck driver, Tony Ithell, 61, a resident of Pendine Park’s Penybryn Brain Injury and Neurological Care Home, also had a great time.
Tony, who suffered a devastating stroke more than four years ago, said: “Everyone loves Elvis. He made some brilliant records. We had a great party not that I’m much into dancing these days.”
Fellow Penybryn resident Mike Blakely, 60, a former cabinet maker of Bagillt, Flintshire, added: “It’s what we grew up listening to. Elvis was always on the radio when we were kids. We had a really good party. We always enjoy music and having a good time. It’s nice to have a laugh and a bit of fun with the staff too.”
Max Chard, who often performs at Pendine Park’s care homes, said: “I always get a great reception from both residents and staff and really enjoy my visits. It’s actually a pleasure to come here.
“The residents have had a great parry today celebrating what would have been Elvis’s 85th birthday.”