ExtraCare Traditions 1 – Talent Spotting

THIS IS THE START OF WHAT WILL BE A SERIES OF BLOGS OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS DESCRIBING SOME OF THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THE EXTRACARE CHARITABLE TRUST.  THIS WAS THE ORGANISATION I FOUNDED AND WORKED FOR FROM 1987 THROUGH TO THE TIME I RETIRED IN 2010.  I HOPE IT WILL INSPIRE OTHERS TO LOOK AT NEW WAYS OF LIVING IN LATER LIFE.

For other blogs in this series, click on “ExtraCare Traditions” in the TAG CLOUD

From the very beginning of our days in ExtraCare we always saw older people as unique individuals, with great stories to tell and a host of hidden talents.   For many people their natural sense of modesty kept them from seeing anything remarkable in their lives.  For others lack of confidence, or fear of being embarrassed, stopped them from having a go at things.    One of our core values was ” AGE IS NO BARRIER TO ACHIEVING THINGS”.   This is not always easy to believe when you are beset by the ravages of old age.   Over the years we set out to enable everyone to be able to live up to that value — staff, relatives and most of all residents themselves.

The lady in the photograph below is one of our earliest finds.   Her name is May Bastock, she lived in one of our first nursing homes at Abbey Park in Coventry.   One day in a sing-a-long organised by my activities team leader – Mike Hallam – he noticed that May’s voice stood out among all the rest.  She said she had only ever sung at home on washing days, but she had a concert level contralto quality in her voice.  A few weeks later and after much persuasion, Mike got May to record a record and it was played on the local radio station  and she was featured in the local press.   Not quite the X Factor, but pretty good for a lady of 90 !

 

1. Recording Artist

In the following years there were many more stories like this.    Each one different, but all giving a lie to the idea that old people are ” old, past it and useless”.

Eventually in 1998 to celebrate The ExtraCare Charitable Trust’s 10th birthday, we published a book called “EVERYONE’S GOT A STORY TO TELL”.   It was collated and written by Maureen Hall, an Assistant Nursing Home Manager and Jeanne Elston our “Roundabout” newspaper Editor, from the memories and experiences of a host of residents who came to live with us in those early days.

In my enthusiasm I had 10,000 printed and I am sure we must have sold at least 100 copies 🙂     But, it set a path for the years ahead, that everyone is special and that age really is no barrier with a little encouragement and support. 

ManSmilew-BIGboard Cropped 159

 

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6 Responses to ExtraCare Traditions 1 – Talent Spotting

  1. Jon Cleaver says:

    added to the story above May was interviewed for BBC Midlands Today When the late John Yates news presenter came to ExtraCare Head Office in Coventry interviewed and heard May sing. I must confess John Yates was quite taken with the power of Mays voice. I still have a tape of May.

    • john graham says:

      Thanks Jon. I did not recall she had appeared on T.V. as well. It must have been a great thrill for her.
      The first of many appearances for ExtraCare residents on television in the years after this. Perhaps we can find some more in future blogs.

      • Jon Cleaver says:

        Hi John talk when we meet I have been thinking a great deal about what you are doing and I’m sure we have stories concerning the many achievements our elders have performed that would enthrall Grumblesmiles readers. Cheers

  2. davidwfreeman237 says:

    IT is the the concept and the vision of those founder members of THe Extracare Charitable Trust who noticed who and what was within each of us? Then gave the individual the opportity, sometimes with friends and other residents to enjoy what true human companships really means, regardless of Difficulties one has within their own bodies and minds, and the ravages of age and time which can curtail involvement and movement within a society.

  3. John Graham says:

    Thank you David.
    Those are really kind words, which I am sure will be appreciated by all ExtraCares staff, both past and present.

  4. moganmd1 says:

    If you get the ExtraCare story when you work there, you never forget images like this or the remarkable stories. As a student, you sent me to York with a former train driver who loved the trip down memory lane and opened up to talk about meeting the Queen and her parents! Everyone’s got a story!

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