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Retirement home ladies don tutus for Bee Gees dance

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  • by Laura Thomson
 

Five residents at a Southsea retirement home stole the show when they donned tutus and danced to a Bee Gees hit to help celebrate its 25th anniversary.

The plucky quintet drew roars of approval as they strutted their stuff to the sound of Stayin’ Alive.

The surprise show was part of the anniversary celebrations at Greenwich Court retirement home in King Street in Southsea.

Guest of honour was the Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral David Steel, who used a ceremonial sword to cut the birthday cake.

The sheltered living home is exclusive to ex-Royal Navy and marine personnel and their dependants.

It is part of the Greenwich Royal Hospital which opened in 1764, and still has strong ties to the trust, inviting the current director of Greenwich Hospital along to the celebration.

Hugh Player, who became director in 2012 following 33 years of service in the marines, said he was proud of the home and its residents.

He added: ‘I think everybody here really appreciates the shared experience and affinity.

‘We have provided a safe, warm and welcoming environment, but one that’s not intrusive.’

The Second Sea Lord was the guest of honour, and was accompanied into the building by a bagpipe player.

He was invited to cut the cake and give a speech.

He said: ‘It’s a real privilege to meet people who find such comradeship and friendship in a home like Greenwich Court and it’s a huge honour for me to be here representing the navy and to part of such a great community.

‘It’s awe-inspiring to see elderly people who get such fun out of friendship.’

After the cake was cut and speeches had been given, local ukulele group, the Pompey Pluckers, performed for the residents before the five dancers put on tutus and performed to the Bees Gees hit Staying Alive.

Of the 41 residents, four can boast that they have been there since the beginning.

Pat Cadman, 85, moved into her flat when it was brand new back in 1989.

She said: ‘I moved in when it opened.

‘I was retiring from Scotland and a friend told me about this place being built and I applied and passed the interview.

‘It was great because we were all ex-service.

‘It’s still great, we have baked potato suppers, we watch the football and rugby, we have film nights and we play cards.

‘We always celebrate our anniversary and have a big social at Christmas. Any excuse for a party!

‘The safety and security really is reassuring. I have had a contented 25 years here.’

The evening was organised by resident and social co-ordinator Angie Bradley, 64.

She added: ‘The best part of tonight was the Scottish piper and the Second Sea Lord and to see him in his naval uniform, which revokes memories for many of us!’

 

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