Harriett is on song as she marks birthday

Birthday girl Harriet Wilkins.
Picture by Jane Coltman
Birthday girl Harriet Wilkins. Picture by Jane Coltman
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A popular resident at a care home has been celebrating her forthcoming birthday.

Harriett Wilkins joined friends at Earsdon Grange Care Home, in Whitley Bay, for a party marking her 106th birthday next month.

Harriett, who suffers from dementia, was born in March 1910, the year that saw George V succeed to the throne following the death of his father, Edward VII.

She is one of three residents who take part in Singing for the Brain sessions in North Shields, run by the Alzheimer’s Society.

Deryn Johnston, the home’s activity co-ordinator, said: “There’s still an awful lot Harriet remembers.

“She often talks about her days as a choir singer after our visits here, and she remembers all of the words to the songs.

“We have been coming here for two years now and because of her condition, she might forget about the visit shortly afterwards.

“But the enjoyment and warm feelings she gets from being here stay with her.”

“All three of our residents love Singing for the Brain. It lifts their spirits and they return to the care home with smiles on their faces.”

Group Co-ordinator Sophie Mitchell, who leads the sessions for the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Singing and music in general is a great way to exercise the brain.

“Music can encourage the expression of positive emotions as well as enhance communication skills.

“Our sessions give people living with dementia and their carers the opportunity to socialise, receive and give peer support, whilst engaging in a stimulating group activity.”

A reminiscence group called Making History, which uses objects, music, film and food to stimulate memories, will be launched in North Tyneside this month.

It will run between 10.30am and 11.30am on alternate Mondays at Whitley Bay Customer First Service Centre, York Road, Whitley Bay, starting on February 29.

The established Singing for the Brain sessions in North Shields take place in St Columba’s Church Hall on Northumberland Square every Monday between 1.30pm and 3pm.

For further information about these sessions email northtyneside@alzheimers.org.uk or call 0191 298 3989.