By Debbie le Quesne

Shimmers, veils and an Olympic hurdle overcome

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Now I know a little bit about the Welsh: A fiercely proud bunch of people who have their own great language; they’re big on rugby; have distinguished themselves in conflicts overseas; gave birth to Tom Jones and generally are willing to have a go at most things to preserve their proud heritage.

So I was not in the least surprised to read of a care home in Wrexham whose residents decided to take the floor when professional dancer Fatma gave a demonstration of her belly dancing skills.

Her performance at the care home was enjoyed by the residents, the article said, and some had a go themselves.

Already the idea is sowing seeds of a new training course (only joking). But on a more serious note, what a great idea, The Pendine Park activities coordinator Gerry Humphreys, said: “We try to have a wide programme of activities, some educational and some designed purely to entertain.

“Having a belly dancer was certainly something different and the residents had a really great time. Fatma’s performance was certainly lively and included a great deal of interesting facts and cultural information. In fact it was a fascinating insight into the origins of belly dancing.”

One of the residents summed up the event as educational and funny – “Fatma was actually very funny but taught me a lot about the Arab culture too.”

And she added: “We always have lots of activities with people coming in giving talks and demonstrating different skills but this was one of the best we have had to be honest and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

This is adding real quality and stimulation to the lives of those people in the home.

I’m sure no-one at Pendine will actually keep up with the exercise belly dancing can offer but maybe its success will inspire another visit. I sincerely hope so. And I hope too the creative thinking of Gerry will help other activities coordinators break the mold now and then.



Competing in the Helsinki Olympics in 1952, 17-year-old Steffen Cranmer was the youngest ever member selected for the British shooting team.

He also took part in the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 and Rome in 1960 and in 1958 he was crowned world champion in small-bore rifle shooting in Moscow.

Sadly Mr Cranmer suffered a stroke and is how has mobility speech impairment.

His family desperately wanted him to catch the flame of the Olympic spirit after The British Olympic Association gave him tickets to the rifle shooting finals in Woolwich, but Steffen needed specialist accommodation for the trip.

After speaking to Sanctuary Care, Mr Cranmer and his wife Yvonne will be staying at Ashgreen House Nursing Home, which provides care for the elderly, in Woolwich, enabling this trip of a lifetime to happen.

Steffen, who is 78 and lives in the Cotswolds, stayed at the home before travelling with eldest daughter Sarah and Yvonne to the event last Friday.

What an honour for the Ashgreen House home and how lovely this former champion has been able to have a very special day.

These two cheering stories are a good start for our week and serve to remind us too that all kinds of happy stimulation for the elderly are hugely important. It has been shown to slow the onset of dementia and social interaction is the key for dealing with issues of isolation.


Written by debbielq

August 6, 2012 at 9:36 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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