By Sean Tunnicliffe, Communications Worker, Leeds Older People’s Forum
The best part about International Day of Older People for me is that I get a rare chance to get out of the office and visit some of the organisations which stage the Community Events to celebrate older people in Leeds.
This year I got out to three events staged which were staged by Age UK Leeds, Skippko and Leeds Irish Health and Homes.
Notes from a Small Room
The Age UK Leeds event was the launch of a book containing an anthology of some of the writing produced by members of their creative writing group ‘The Scribblers’ over the period 2014-2016.
The group describe themselves as an eclectic group of older people and this description was clearly demonstrated by some of the material and by the members who gave readings from the book.
Anne Spice was the first person to give a reading with a passionate and amusing plea for independence for Yorkshire and the benefits that this would bring including free Tetley’s Bitter (which isn’t brewed in Yorkshire anymore but don’t get me started on that!), Yorkshire tea and other regional delicacies.
Anne was clearly going to be a tough act to follow but Sally Brooks, Fred Wareing and Sue Gregg were all up to the job reading their own work from the anthology. Sally and Sue had both written poetry whilst Fred had written an amusing and brief reworking of the Frog Prince Fairy Tale. Anne then returned to read us a tall story about a meeting Mr Spock from Star Trek.
If you would like a copy of Notes from a Small Room please contact Sarah Prescott at Age UK Leeds on (0113) 389 3007 or email: Sarah.Prescott@ageukleeds.org.uk. There is a suggested donation of £1 per copy.
This was the Skippko event where a group of older people celebrated International Day of Older People by learning about and taking photos in Leeds City Centre.
Outdoor events are always prey to the weather, particularly in early autumn, but luckily the sun shone and the day was dry so a large and enthusiastic group of fourteen people gathered by Leeds Art Gallery ready to snap away.
The group spent an hour walking round the Headrow, Art Gallery and Town Hall taking photos, some were seasoned photographers, some were novices and others were somewhere in between, but all were keen to listen to advice and tips from Skippko staff.
Having taken their photos the group retired to Skippko’s city centre base to review their work and to have tea and cake. There was real warmth to this group some of whom are part of Skippko’s photography group and so have been involved in some previous projects.
Some of the photos from previous projects were displayed on the wall and were very impressive so I look forward to seeing the photos from this event.
For more information on Skippko and City Snaps contact Cath Brooke on (0113) 234 5355 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Farewell to Summer
The last event I went to was the Leeds Irish Health & Homes Samhain celebration, which is the Celtic festival of autumn (is there anything the Celts didn’t have a festival for?).
The event was held at the Montague Burton Centre where a large group of older members of the Leeds Irish community were treated to a traditional meal of bacon, potatoes and cabbage followed by apple pie and cream.
The event was a celebration of Irish culture and there was a table with various mementoes of Ireland which was designed to invoke memories and nostalgia. There was also traditional entertainment in the form of music, singing, poetry and storytelling.
The traditional Irish music came courtesy of Teresa O’Driscoll (vocals), John Kilburn (guitar) and Teresa Charlesworth (accordion).
There were poetry readings from Teresa O’Driscoll, Alan Wallace and Catherine Coates and some stand-up comedy from John McCadden
The entertainment wasn’t restricted to the performers though as there was a sing-a-long session as well with everyone enthusiastically joining, which resulted in me leaving to return to the office with Molly Malone ringing in my ears, which is no bad thing.
If you would like more information on Leeds Irish Health & Homes services for older people please contact Caroline Murphy on (0113) 262 5614 or email: Caroline.Murphy@lihh.org
I would like to thank all the above groups for allowing me to come along to their events and to take photos and for giving me cake. It’s great to get out and see older (and younger of course) people coming together to celebrate Older People’s Day together.
A particular bonus of the Age UK Leeds and Skippko events is that there is a lasting legacy in the form of the book and the photos which means more people get to see the wonderful talent that older people in Leeds have and which they are happy to share.