Totally tropical day for fun-loving care home residents in Wrexham

Pendine Park, Summerhill Tropical fun day. Staff at Bodlondeb festooned with bright clothes and garlands get a selfie with their tropical fruit and drinks

A multi-coloured float in the shape of a giant pineapple was the star attraction at a fun day in Wrexham.

Residents and staff donned  tropical shirts and flower garlands  for the annual event at the Pendine Park care organisation.

The sun came out and uplifting music resounded from the dazzling cavalcade as it stopped off at each of Pendine’s  care homes in Summerhill, before drawing up in a bunting festooned courtyard for a  Club Tropicana Carnival-themed festivities.

“It is just wonderful, such a fun, vibrant atmosphere,” said Brian Davies, husband of  resident Wendy Davies.

He added: “All the staff here have worked so hard on this, it’s been non-stop for them but they have really done the residents and families proud. It is so good to see our loved ones enjoying it so much. I can’t thank them enough.”

There was a pineapple shaped piñata filled with sweet treats, a mouth-watering fruity feast and an upbeat atmosphere as residents played percussion instruments and sang joyfully.

The colourful bright yellow float was designed and made by the Pendine Park maintenance team who also drove it around the 12-acre site.

At each home residents had gathered at the entrance to greet the float before continuing the party in the different gardens and courtyards around the grounds.

Maintenance team leader and carnival king Paul Morris led the fanfare by enthusiastically playing a giant djembe drum as he rode on the float.

His energetic colleagues George Woodward and Phil Jones took on the task of steering the incredible vehicle on its journey.

They were all dressed in Hawaiian shirts, grass skirts and pineapple shaped sunglasses, topping their outfits off with fancy feathers hats.

Resident Emma Locker said seeing the maintenance team leading the float in their grass skirts made her laugh out loud.

She grinned: “What great legs they have! It’s a sight to be seen.”

Also joining in the fun were Pendine Park gardeners Mark Jones and Jamie Roberts who stopped off for a delicious fruit punch in between their mammoth job of keeping the grounds looking pristine.

“It is so nice to see the residents outside and having such a good time,” said Mark.

Highfield care home resident Eluned Bettinson, who wore an elegant summer hat for the occasion, praised the staff for putting on such a good show. She also made a special point of thanking the gardening team in person for all their hard work.

Eluned said: “It’s certainly been a fun afternoon and we’re all so pleased that the sun broke through so we could come outside in the warmth and see this fantastic float close up.”

Pendine Park Artist in Residence Sarah Edwards who organised the fun day said residents from the Seren Art Class, which she leads, helped paint the float in the run up to the big day to ensure it was in tip top shape for its journey.

She said: “Everyone has done their bit to make this year’s summer fair a real success. We were out at the crack of dawn putting up bunting in the gardens and decorating the courtyard.

“We also prepared in advance by making colourful hats and decorations in our art sessions and everyone who wanted to had a flower garland to wear on the day.

“Our teams at Pendine are the best and I can’t thank everyone enough for all their amazing efforts to help make this such a special day for our residents.”

Staff ensured all could join in the fun and even the more immobile residents in their rooms were also presented with multi-coloured garlands.

Denise Roth, activities and enrichment co-ordinator at Cae Bryn care home, was unmissable as she sported a Jamaican style outfit, including long dreadlocks. She encouraged residents to singalong to Abba’s hit song Dancing Queen and Candi Staton’s Young Hearts Run Free, as the musical pineapple float arrived at the entrance way.

Denise laughed: “We wanted to create a carnival theme and it seems to have worked. It’s good to see so many smiling faces.”

Husband and wife Diane and Raymond Ralph, who are both Cae Bryn residents, said they were having a great time.

“It is just the ticket for a summer’s day, everyone is smiling,” said Raymond, while his wife had a go at playing the djembe drum.

Diane said: “We love the music, it’s so uplifting.”

A gazebo was put up in the garden at Cae Bryn and decorations hung from the trees so residents could continue celebrating after the float moved on to Penybryn.

At Bodlondeb residential home, which has 68 residents, rainbow bunting was erected and tables and benches were brought outside. Staff even organised a mini bring and buy to help boost the extra-activities funds for residents.

Manager Ann Chapman said: “We wanted to completely embrace the theme of let live and love. Families and friends were invited to join in too and we’re so pleased that we had such a good response.”

Among those who volunteered their time to join in the celebrations were three nurses from Wrexham Maelor Hospital who de-cluttered their cupboards and brought along items they no longer needed to sell on the bring and buy table.

Kim Mendiola, Belinda Aranas and Louella Gerasmo said they wanted to do something positive and practical on the day.

Kim was doubly keen to help as her husband Armando works as a carer at Bodlondeb.

She said: “We are all friends who have strong connections with Bodlondeb and we were happy to help Ann and the team here who provide such a vital service to the local community.”

On another stall staff handed out glasses of specially made fruit punch along with a colourful selection of exotic fruit in keeping with the tropical theme.

Ann added: “The emphasis is on all things delicious. We’ve got mangos, pineapples, melons, bananas, grapes, oranges, apples and even coconuts.

“It really is, as our sign says, a tropical fun day!”

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