Pearl adds another string to her bow

Linden House resident Pearl Durrant takes to the BBC South Today presenter’s chair

A resident at our Lymington dementia care home has learned the basics of violin and joined in at a live concert with a community music group.

Pearl Durrant, 85, who has never played a musical instrument before, only began practising with
Bournemouth University’s BUDDY orchestra in January this year.

Led by three professional musicians, the group involves 20 players who are living with dementia at home or attending day centres, and their carers.

Pearl, the only member who lives in full-time residential care, has been accompanied by Linden House Activities Organiser Fiona Pritchard to and from the group’s weekly practices.

The culmination so far has been a one-hour lunchtime public concert at the University’s Poole House atrium.

Pieces included Ravel’s Bolero and the theme tunes from Jaws, The Archers and Desert Island Discs.

Pearl, a former nurse, said: “I really enjoyed it. It was great fun.”

Pearl Durrant with Linden House Activities Organiser Fiona Pritchard

Fiona said: “We spoke with Pearl and her family about getting involved with the group because, although she hasn’t played an instrument before, she does love music. She was happy to give the violin a go. When we drive back from the practices, I’ve noticed she is reminiscing more, talking about her parents, husband and other memories. The experience of playing seems to enhance her thought processes.”

The concert came just weeks after Pearl joined residents and team members from three of our homes on a tour of the BBC’s Southampton studios. The visit was a thank-you for the homes’ Children in Need fundraising. During the tour, Pearl took the chance to sit in the BBC South Today presenter’s chair.

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