Pensioners hold their own LGBT Pride event at Portsmouth care home

Burlesque girls Claire Deloo, Kelly Delay, Lindsey Oram with Bluewater residents, Beatrice Poole and Gillian Cooke at an LGBT Pride event held at the care home on Friday July 12. Picture: Habibur Rahman
Burlesque girls Claire Deloo, Kelly Delay, Lindsey Oram with Bluewater residents, Beatrice Poole and Gillian Cooke at an LGBT Pride event held at the care home on Friday July 12. Picture: Habibur Rahman
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LOVE for one another’s differences came to the forefront at a Portsmouth care home as residents held their own pride event.

Following the Pride event in Southsea last month, Bluewater Care Home in Kingston Road, North End, held its own pride event yesterday, complete with burlesque dancers and garden party music.

Leonard White, middle, dances with Cherish Matthews and Beth Ward. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Leonard White, middle, dances with Cherish Matthews and Beth Ward. Picture: Habibur Rahman

While elderly residents danced along to some of their favourite tunes, there was a strong understanding of why the event was taking place, and the importance of making those in the LGBT community feel accepted.

Care home resident Gillian Cooke said: ‘It’s been brilliant, just so much fun.

‘Everyone has enjoyed themselves and there’s been no nastiness about what pride means or anything like that.

‘It’s nice to experience something like this, and I think other care homes should do it as well – it get everybody up and about instead of just staying indoors.’

One of those who were enjoying themselves the most was 93-year-old Beatrice Poole.

Though confined to her chair, nothing was going to stop her from celebrating pride.

‘I like having the dancers and live music here, its wonderful,’ she said.

‘It’s nice to have families here enjoying themselves for a day like this.’

The care home’s manager, Hayley George, says the residents have really taken on board the meaning of Pride and enjoyed the event.

She said: ‘More people are becoming aware of the LGBT community and how widespread it has become.

‘When our residents were younger the LGBT scene wasn’t anywhere near as prominent, so this was something we were keen to put on for them.

‘The reaction has been really positive; I think for many people this age, this can still be quite a taboo subject and that is even more the case in a care home.

‘This has been really well-accepted by the residents here and we couldn’t be happier about that.’

Residents want the event to return next year.

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr David Fuller, added: ‘Whatever sexuality we are, it’s important to support and love each other as we get older.’