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Polish dance display celebrates remarkable life history of Timperley Nursing Home resident

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Children from a Polish Saturday school in Manchester performed a folk dance display to celebrate the remarkable life story of a Timperley Nursing Home resident who fled the Nazis and ended up as a nurse in England.

The youngsters, dressed in traditional folk costumes, paid a visit to the Kingsley Healthcare Home in Main Road, Timperley to surprise Edyta Jachimowicz, 93, on International Dance Day (April 29).

The display was organised by the home's Polish activities coordinator Iwona Edyta who was inspired by Edyta's life story.

She said: “The role of an activities coordinator in a care home is to create meaningful and engaging activities for residents. These activities should promote social interaction, physical activity, and cognitive stimulation. It can be challenging to come up with new and exciting ideas that are tailored to each individual resident's interests and abilities. However, sometimes inspiration can come from unexpected places, and that's what happened when I met Edyta. It shows how important it is to listen to residents' stories and interests to create meaningful activities that bring joy and happiness.”

Edyta was born in Bielsko Biała, Poland, in 1930 to Maria and Jozef, an army instructor in physical education. Edyta's father refused to join the German army, as his loyalties were with Poland, and went into hiding. Unfortunately, he was caught and sent to Auschwitz where he was sent over the border to Czechoslovakia to build railways.

He would bring food to back to his fellow inmates but unfortunately was caught and executed. Years later, Edyta visited Auschwitz to ask for a record of her father's death, and she received a copy of his death certificate, along with photos of him in his striped pyjamas. This closure gave Edyta a sense of peace, knowing that her father died as a result of helping others.

Edyta's life is full of other incredible stories, such as her family's evacuation from Poland at the beginning of the war, her travels with her mother, and meeting her husband Zbyszek in Italy. Edyta and Zbyszek had two daughters and grandchildren.

She trained and worked at Eccles and Patricroft Hospital as a nurse until she became a full-time mother in 1958.

Iwona said: "We were moved by Edyta's life story and decided to create a special event for her and the other residents. We looked through Edyta's family photo album and listened to her stories. We wanted to do something that would celebrate Edyta's Polish heritage and the vibrant culture of her homeland and decided on a Polish dance display."

One of the teachers, Magdalena Bartusiak, was a member of one of the UK's longest-standing Polish folk dance groups Polonez. The group was started by expatriates in 1949 and has taken part in many remarkable events, such as the coronation of Queen Elizabeth and the recent visit by King Charles and The Queen Consort Camila to Bolton Town Hall to celebrate its 150th anniversary.

Iwona said: "The dance performance was a huge success, and the residents, including Edyta, were thrilled. They clapped and sang along, and the children's energy was contagious. The event was a fantastic opportunity for the young generation to learn about Polish culture and for the residents to relive some cherished memories. Residents was amazed by Polish folklore and culture."

The Polish community donated traditional Polish snacks and cakes, which all the residents enjoyed.

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