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Glam And Glitz Light Up ‘Tea At The Ritz’

The glamour and glitz of the jazz age sparkled into life as care home residents stepped out in style to help people in the New Forest affected by Parkinson’s disease.

Colten Care’s Tea at the Ritz attracted more than 100 residents, staff and visitors to Boldre War Memorial Hall near Lymington for a lively afternoon of music, dance and conversation.

Six care homes were represented along with members of the New Forest branch of Parkinson’s UK, all enjoying hits from the jazz era performed live by the London-based JP Trio with guest singer Ben Cox.

“It was out of this world,” said Edna Buckingham, a resident at Colten Care’s Avon Reach home in Mudeford, Dorset. “This was the first time I have been on a dance floor in ten years and it was fantastic. When we came to the hall, I thought it was just going to be for a cup of tea and a biscuit, but this turned out to be the most marvellous afternoon I could imagine.”

Edna‘s sentiments were shared by Janette Banks, who was in a party from Belmore Lodge in Lymington.

Janette said: “We enjoy lots of in-home entertainment but it’s so nice to spread our wings and go out too. This was a lovely opportunity to mix with others and all in aid of a most worthy cause. I am very glad to support it.”

To get everyone in the mood, team members from all the homes arrived in roaring 20s-themed outfits.

The ladies wore flapper dresses, sequins and peacock feather headbands while the gents donned bow ties, braces and dapper suits.

First onto the dance floor was Senior Companionship Team Leader and keen amateur dancer Ben Benson-Breen and his dancing partner Kayleigh Sargeant. They performed an energetic jitterbug routine to a backing track of I Love To Boogie by T. Rex.

Then it was time for the band. All members studied music at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama and now perform around the UK including at the world famous London jazz club Ronnie Scott’s.

Thanking Colten Care for staging the event, which raised a total of £930, Alan Lawrence, Chairman of Parkinson’s UK New Forest, said: “While medication can help with the relief of some symptoms, Parkinson’s is there 24 hours a day, every day and there is no let up. The money that was raised by Tea at the Ritz will all go to help local people, helping to make their lives that little bit better.  Well done to those involved for laying on such a splendid afternoon. I thank everyone for their generosity.”

Martina Lamden, Colten Care’s New Forest Operations Manager, said: “Our aim was to give our residents a fantastic, top-quality day out while supporting a cause close to many people’s hearts. Judging by the smiles and laughter all round, everyone really appreciated the chance to enjoy some glamour and have fun in the company of friends old and new.”