Two squirrel monkeys called Malcolm and Mitchell surprised residents with a visit to Madley Park House, a care home operated by The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT).

Edna Belcher, who is 101 years old, along with the other residents were delighted to have the monkeys sit on their shoulders, laps or on their walking frames chattering away. They were also taken around the home to visit residents who were in their rooms or gathered in the social areas for morning tea. Animal engagement with the elderly is not only proven to be therapeutic but also an important interactive social factor between residents, their carers and the community who in this case provided the animal therapy service.

The two dedicated activity co-ordinators at the home who helped to organise this special visit, Carly Willimont and Kerry Hyatt, commented: “OSJCT encourage all activity coordinators in the Trust to think of innovative ways to do something different to help residents gain new life experiences or to reminisce on times gone by. It is wonderful for us to see residents engaging with animals and with each other which we find really rewarding and incredibly fulfilling.”

The two monkeys have a historic past and were in the first Paddington Bear film, a Tinie Tempah music video and the BBC drama ‘Our Zoo’. Malcolm and Mitchell are two brothers and aged 21 and 22 years old with their own distinct characters and traits. Their residence is at Heythrop Zoological Gardens along with a host of other animals who actively participate in various events.