Sudbury disabled residents enjoy a ‘night to remember’

A group of young volunteers arranged for four disabled women from a Sudbury care home to see their school musical. Picture by Chris Fell
A group of young volunteers arranged for four disabled women from a Sudbury care home to see their school musical. Picture by Chris Fell

A group of young volunteers arranged a musical night out to remember for a group of disabled residents from a Sudbury care home.

The YOPEY Befrienders of Ormiston Sudbury Academy laid on a special trip for four disabled women to come to see their school production.

It turned out to be the first night out in a year for delighted Mavis, Margaret, Dorothy and Joy, all wheelchair users in their 80s.

Suffolk charity YOPEY gave sixth-formers £50 to pay for a special wheelchair taxi to take the elderly women and carers to and from Catchpole Court care home in Walnut Tree Lane to the school in Tudor Road.

The teenagers also raised £60 from a bake sale to pay for treats for their guests. The school donated £75 worth of tickets for free.

Dorothy Turpin said: “I can’t remember the last time I went out.”

Margaret Annear added: “It’s been at least a year.”

YOPEY Befrienders are youngsters who are trained to relate to people with dementia and who volunteer to visit residents in a care home for an hour a week for a year.

The idea of attending the opening night of last week’s musical Aladdin Junior was down to Rebecca Meggs.

Rebecca, 17, said: “I wanted the residents to see our school musical Aladdin Junior in which several YOPEY Befrienders were taking part. I was a harem girl.”

She led the group of 10 16-17 year-olds in organising transport.

The youngsters hosted their guests in a ‘green room’ at the school, laying on tea and treats, and they met the stars of the show before the curtain went up.

During the production, another member, Sophie Tonkins, 16, sat with their guests.

Sophie said: “I asked how they felt about Rebecca organising this event for them, to which Dorothy replied ‘she’s a lovely girl that Rebecca’.

“They all said they were very impressed.”

Carer Sammie Steer said: “Rebecca is an amazing student – she made us all feel like VIPs.

“Everyone from the YOPEYs to the cast and staff of Ormiston Sudbury Academy should be super proud.”

Catchpole activities co-ordinator Coleen Sagon said: “I love the fact that you all come to see the residents – it makes their day.”

YOPEY founder Tony Gearing, from Stradishall, said: “I have been setting up partnerships between schools and care homes up and down the country for four years.

“This is the first time any group of young people has organised a trip out.

“I will be using Rebecca’s initiative to encourage other groups to do the same.”