Eddie the Eagle flies in to launch new table tennis table at Monkscroft
Winter Olympics legend 'Eddie the Eagle' Edwards added another sport to his repertoire, when he flew into The Orders of St John Care Trust's Monkscroft Care Home in Cheltenham to play table tennis with residents and staff on their new table designed for those living with dementia.
The table was donated to the home by Julie Daltrey in memory of her father, Gordon Malcolm, who passed away in February this year. Julie and her mother, Margaret, raised more than £1,250 to buy the table in memory of Gordon, who had been a resident at Monkscroft since the summer of 2018 following a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.
About a third of the money raised came from the Cheltenham branch of Waitrose through its Community Matters initiative, and staff from the store joined Michael ‘Eddie the Eagle’ Edwards and members of Julie’s wider family at Monkscroft for the unveiling of the table.
Julie said: “I’ve played table tennis since I was ten years old so when I heard about these tables and the benefits of playing table tennis for those living with dementia, it immediately sparked my interest as the perfect way to give something back to Monkscroft.
“I’m absolutely delighted to see the table in place in the home, and to watch it being used and enjoyed by residents – long may that continue!”
The dual-purpose circular table is an innovative concept developed for care provision venues by Ian Craigton-Chambers, the Creative Director of the Bounce Alzheimer's Therapy (BAT) Foundation, in collaboration with Design Company Call to Mind.
It allows up to six people, either standing or seated, to play a gentle, non-competitive game of table tennis. A communication game board overlay can also be added, which up to ten people can play, and which helps people understand the thinking, likes and dislikes of someone with dementia or memory loss.
Ian said: “We have taken table tennis, which has been designated by International Neuroscience Fraternities as the world's number one brain sport, and transformed it from a game into a significantly effective therapy. We are constantly creating specialist equipment to markedly enhance the therapeutic experience.”
Monkscroft Home Manager Doreen Paisley said: “We are very grateful to Julie and her family for this very generous donation in memory of her father. We are always looking at how we can expand and develop the programme of activities we provide for our residents and donations like this make such a difference to what we can offer. I am sure this table will be very well used and will bring a lot of enjoyment and benefit to our residents.”