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Tears of joy as two generations sing Christmas carols together

Two generations were singing for joy when a school’s reception class made its first ever visit to a Wrexham care home.

The group of 10 pupils aged four and five from Ysgol Bodhyfryd performed Christmas carols and traditional Welsh language songs for elderly residents at Pendine Park’s Hillbury House.

Through the medium of music young and old found common ground as many of the tunes were familiar to the residents and re-ignited happy memories.

At the finale there was a bumper round of applause from a delighted audience with everyone in the room feeling uplifted by the sweet harmonies.

Deputy manager Patsy Swift said: “It was just wonderful, so heartwarming. There were happy tears in all our eyes. Our care staff could not help but fill up with emotion as we watched the children and our residents enjoying it so much.

“The little ones did such a good job, singing so brightly with beaming smiles on their faces, and there were non-stop smiles too from everyone listening.”

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The residential home in Hillbury Road has a strong bond with Ysgol Bodhyfryd in Brynycabanau Road, Wrexham, as the two are near neighbours. 

Different groups of the older age pupils from the school regularly visit to join residents in arts, crafts and recreational sessions as part of an inter-generational education project.

Patsy said: “We always love the visits from Ysgol Bodhyfryd pupils and some of our residents have forged good friendships with pupils over the years.

“It benefits both age groups to meet and join in different activities together. 

“The project helps the children get a real understanding of older people, learning about their lives and how much they have contributed to society in the past and still contribute now. 

“And I know our residents immensely enjoy having children visit and hearing about what they’re doing at school. It’s a great way for them to feel in touch with the local community.” 

The home has done a few projects with the school outdoors as well as indoors, including planting flowers and bulbs, and older school pupils have painted benches for residents.

But this month’s concert was the first ever occasion that the youngest pupils – the reception class – had visited the home.  

Under the guidance of their teachers, they had practiced for several weeks before they made the trip to Hillbury House.

One resident, Olive Evans, said: “The concert was so good it’s made my Christmas.”

Thanking the children after their performance Olive shared with them her memories of performing in a nativity play when she was their age and attending school.

“I still remember it vividly today,” she said, adding: “And I’ll remember your wonderful singing for a long time too.”

The children delivered a short but varied programme of their well-rehearsed repertoire including Christmas carols, and festive favourites like Jingle Bells which they sang in Welsh while playing simple percussion instruments.

They also performed fun numbers including Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, doing the actions to each verse.

Their teacher Elin O’Sullivan, said: “It was extra special for them to be able to meet some of the residents after the performance and get such great feedback.”

Hillbury resident Irene Bishop and her friend Audrey Stace said it was wonderful to hear such enthusiasm in their young voices.

Irene said: “They were lovely. They sang clearly and did so well remembering all their lines.”

Talking to one of the young singers named Bella she told her: “You were amazing, you all had such beautiful voices. We all really enjoyed your performance.”

Enchanted by the singing Malcolm Gibson and William Barlow said the performance was star quality.

“You were all super-good, superstars,” said William. 

Fellow resident Josephine Price said the concert marked a great start to Christmas festivities at Hillbury House, while another resident Sylvia Williams told pupils Rey, Efan, and Theon: “We would all love for you to come and visit us again.”

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