A book loving five year old boy is “bringing joy” to the residents in a care home by reading exciting adventure stories to them.
Young Harri Shone is a firm favourite at Pendine Park’s Highfield care home in Wrexham where he regularly pops in on his way home from school
Harri just loves to read, whether it is imaginative stories or non-fiction, and says it’s his number one hobby.
So, he takes along his schoolbooks to read stories out loud to residents with whom he has become big mates.
The visits have become so successful that Pendine is now hoping to form an ongoing relationship with Harri’s school to enable other children to visit.
Harri’s mum, Laura Shone, a senior care practitioner at Highfield, said: “Harri has been calling here after school for a few months now.
“It’s lovely to see our residents’ faces light up when he arrives. Staff also have got to know him well and always shout out ‘hello Harri’ on his arrival.
“They all know him and enjoy hearing how well he is progressing with his reading.”
Harri has learned the names of the residents and which of them most like to hear his stories and he knows exactly where to find them.
He said: “It’s great. I like to make them smile and it’s nice when they help me if I get stuck on anything.”
According to his new friend and resident, Betty Newcombe, she really enjoys Harri’s visits and his reading sessions, adding: “Seeing him walk into the room always brightens up an afternoon.
She said: “He is very clever and an excellent reader considering his young age.”
Harri’s favourite books are the Biff, Chip and Kipper series of adventures, recommended by his school. He especially likes the humorous romp Looking After Gran, and the thrilling escapade Trapped!.
Mum Laura said Harri has a natural love of reading and after finishing one book he simply can’t wait to devour the next adventure story.
She said: “I think his love of reading comes from time spent with his Uncle Raymond, my husband’s uncle, who is in his seventies.
“They are great mates. At weekends and whenever they get together they will happily spend hours reading the newspapers sitting next to each other. He enjoys it so much.
“It was watching them together so often which inspired me to bring Harri into work to read with residents a couple of days a week after I pick him up from school. From the very first visit he just found it was the most natural thing in the world to read out loud to them.”
The residents get so much enjoyment out of the sessions that Laura has since reached out to teachers at Harri’s school, Ysgol Penrhyn in New Broughton, Wrexham, and asked if they would like to organise regular visits by small groups of other pupils.
She said: “Harri is a Year 1 pupil but towards the end of last year we arranged for a group of pupils from Year 4 to come in and do some interactive arts and crafts with our residents. It went really well so now we’d love to do some more of that in 2024.
“It’s a great learning experience for the children, but also it is positively inspiring for residents too. It’s always a good idea bringing older and younger generations together, whether it’s to read, or sing, or do other arts activities. They easily enjoy each other’s company and can learn so much from each other.”
“Last month I was also able to take a small group of residents to see the school play, Bethlehem Bake Off, at Ysgol Penrhyn which they absolutely loved. It was great fun and so well performed.
“All the kids were brilliant and it made such a lovely outing for us all. We all talked about it so much afterwards.
“Hopefully as we move into spring we can organise some more visits from the school. In the meantime, Harri will be here reading to them as much as he can.”
Highfield manager Tracey Smith said: “Harri is always a very welcome visitor because he is like a little ray of sunshine whose story reading brings joy to our residents.
“He’s a very charming little boy and he has melted the hearts of the residents and staff alike.”