A party to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee was in danger of becoming a quiet affair when at the last minute the entertainment booked had to cancel. However, a chance meeting in Glenn Park, Maghull between the event organiser, nurse Teresa Carey walking her dog Rascal, and Phil Marshall who was exercising his guide dog Harvey, saved the day.
Teresa and Phil got chatting and she explained the situation and how she was desperate to find alternative entertainment of any kind. Phil contacted his brother-in-law John Donnelly to see if he was free on the afternoon of the celebration party which was to be held at Brothers of Charity Care Home in Broadgreen. The charity provides quality, innovative and price sensitive care for over 500 adults with various forms of disabilities and learning difficulties across the North West of England.
Many weeks had been spent by Teresa organising the party and buying various buntings, Union Jack accessories and cardboard life size cut outs of The Queen and guardsmen. The staff and residents so looked forward to the event whilst Teresa continued in her quest to find replacement entertainment. Teresa was relieved to be told that Phil and John, who are both members of Harmonic Lodge No 216, were available and would turn up with disco music and dress as Elvis; to the delight of the residents. No fee would be charged but if they felt the need to reimburse them, a donation to Guide Dogs for the Blind would be gratefully received.
The weather on the day was threatening rain so the party was held indoors. On arrival, John and Phil found the residents crowded into the dining area. They were excited and all cheered as the sound system was set up. Then John slipped away to change into his Elvis outfit. Meanwhile, Phil played a selection of party music, mainly chosen by the guests, who were definitely in a party mood.
Anticipation rose as Phil introduced Elvis to huge cheers. Whilst John continued to sing a number of familiar Elvis standards, Phil slipped away to return as a ‘spoof’ Elvis. They exchanged banter about who was the real and best Elvis and finished with a duet ‘The Wonder of You’, performed for the first time by two Elvis’s.
There was a short break for a coffee and a sandwich while the party music continued. All through the afternoon, the busy staff served an abundance of party food and soft drinks to the residents. The last hour saw John and Phil, now out of their Elvis suits, singing a variety of songs by familiar singers like Billy Fury, Dean Martin, Tommy Steel, Neil Diamond and many others.
The final song which they were all encouraged to join in, was “Always Be the Best of Friends”, a song which summed up the day – the end of a very memorable day for the residents and dedicated staff of this very special care home. As a thank you, Guide Dogs for the Blind received a very generous donation of £100 from the staff.