‘We really wanted to represent the older community of LGBT because we feel they are under represented’ - Soham care home welcomes Pride in Ely
PUBLISHED: 17:57 09 August 2019
If you can’t come to Pride, Pride may come to you!
When elderly residents at Soham Lodge Care Centre heard that Pride in Ely was taking place on Saturday, they wanted to join in the fun.
"Unfortunately it wasn't feasible getting everyone out," Soham Lodge events and activities co-ordinator Emma Hales said.
Instead, she contacted Pride in Ely - who agreed to bring rainbow cheer to the care home instead.
This afternoon drag queen Felicity Flappes entertained residents and their relatives with singing and banter amid rainbow decorations and festivities.
Co-ordinating the visit for Pride in Ely was Ariane Richardt.
Fleur Patten, of Ely Rock Eels, held an intergenerational rock painting session, while other members of Pride in Ely chatted to residents.
Emma said some of the residents, now in their nineties, had had to disguise their true identities when they were younger become of the stigma attached to being gay.
Emma said: "We really wanted to represent the older community of LGBT because we feel they are under represented."
Taking part in the Pride celebrations had been truly emotional for the residents, some of whom had served in the Second World War.
"We have one resident who never comes out of her room. When she heard Felicity and the Pride gang were coming, she came out of her room.
"This event was so poignant for them. The residents absolutely loved it."
For the past week, the care home has flown the rainbow Pride flag outside its building on the A142.
The residents have decorated cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles and participated in Pride themed arts and crafts.
Felicity Flappes said: "We've brought a little bit of fun, a little bit of joy to a group of fantastic people. If they can't come to Pride, we'll bring Pride to them."
Felicity, who will compere Pride in Ely on Saturday, was the host of the Dot Cotton Club, East Anglia's longest running gay night at The Junction in Cambridge.
The drag queen admitted she hadn't known what to expect when she turned up at Soham Lodge.
"I didn't know if I was going to get my bum pinched or be told to shut up!
"Everybody was singing, waving their banners, they've got their Pride coloured hats. Everybody was joining in. This is truly inclusion."
Fritha Love, of Pride in Ely, added: "It was an absolute delight to take a mini Pride to Soham Lodge Care Home.
"The staff and residents created a brilliant party atmosphere. We all had a great time singing, dancing and painting rocks. What better way to start off Pride in Ely for the 10th?"
Claire Giannandrea, of Pride in Ely, thanked Soham Lodge for reaching out to the group.
"That's what we're all about - involving the community as much as we can."
This year's Pride festival will take place from 10am to 4.30pm outside the Maltings on Saturday.
There will also be a free Pride after party at Riverside Bar and Kitchen from 7pm on the same day.
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