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VE Day event unlocks memories for residents

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Although many of the pensioners at Heron Lodge in Wroxham are living with dementia, a May celebration organised by activities coordinator Janette “Netty” Sumner brought back vivid flashbacks of their life during the Second World War. She said: “I tried to recreate the feeling of what it would have been like for them when the war finally came to an end.” The Kingsley Healthcare-run home in Norwich Road was brightly decorated with union flags and bunting while ration books and wartime ID cards were issued to residents. Meanwhile, for lunch, the home’s kitchen team was challenged with recreating wartime recipes of spam fritters and corn beef hash. Netty said: “The ration books brought back memories for one of our gentlemen who is normally very quiet. He told his wife he needed to fill it in and she was surprised as she had not seen him write for a long time.

“Another of our gentlemen was growing up in Holt during the war and our VE Day celebration brought back all kinds of memories for him. He recalled the bombing raids on Norwich which lit up the night sky as he watched.” She said it was the wartime songs of vintage singer Kitty Collins which had the most dramatic effect on residents. “One of our residents who does not normally sing was up at the microphone joining in with the songs,” she said. “And the songs sparked memories of his parents and he began talking about them.”

Home manager Sue McBroom, who joined other staff in dressing up in 1940s style, said: “Activities that stimulate precious memories are very therapeutic for people living with dementia. “And this kind of event is also great fun for staff as well as the residents and their families.”

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