Fulfilled living in later life

Friday 28th May 2021

Thank you for the music!

Our family at Shottermill House, Haslemere, have been delighted to welcome back visiting musicians

At Pilgrims’ Friend Society, we know how links with local churches help to enrich life at our homes. As lockdown has eased, those living at Shottermill House have been blessed by the return of visiting musicians.

James Honeywood, known as Jim, first got connected to Shottermill House through St Stephen’s Church, next-door to the home. “I used to visit on their coffee morning,” he explains. “A couple of residents who attended St Stephen’s knew I played guitar and asked if I would visit and play for them. I contacted the home and went from there.”

Jim together with his friend Dave make up Back in the Day, with Jim on vocals and guitar and David on sax. As the name suggests, their repertoire is made up of well-loved hits from yesteryear. “We like to entertain by playing songs that the older age group can sing along to,” says Jim.

Pilgrims Friend Shottermill House jim3

Favourites with our family members include ‘Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag’, ‘You are my sunshine’ and ‘Rock around the clock’. Songs from shows like the Sound of Music and the King and I and Hollywood films are also crowd-pleasers.

Jim is also sure to include a few hymns. “We do things like ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’, ‘How great thou art’ and ‘Here is love vast as the ocean’,” he says. “The hymn books are handed out so everyone can sing along.”

To finish, Jim always leads a rousing rendition of Que Sera Sera.

After being away from Shottermill for over a year, Jim is glad to be back. “We know how much everyone likes us to visit and we have really missed going,” says Jim. “We always appreciate the reaction we get, and the fact that we get to play some really nice songs from the past.”

The feeling is very much mutual. After the first return performance family member Sheena said, “It was a lovely afternoon. I enjoyed singing along.”

Another visitor who has recently made a very welcome return to Shottermill is local flautist Mary Gorniak, who performs everything from classical pieces to show-tunes, folk songs and hymns. She is also very happy to take requests from family members.

Babi Dixon, Registered Manager at the home, says, “Music is an important part of our programme of activities at Shottermill. For all residents, but especially those with dementia, music taps into parts of the memory that continue to function long after other areas have declined. Music helps to lift the spirits of those we care for, and brings a sense of enjoyment and tranquillity.”

Pilgrims Friend Shottermill House Mary

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