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High school students craft yuletide joy for their elderly friends this Christmas

PUBLISHED: 06:01 23 November 2017

Students at Northgate High School in Dereham, have been making crafts for the charity Dementia Friends. Pictured are (from left) Adam Birks (16), Katie Mulligan (15), Jess Abreu (16) and Beth Barlow (16). Picture: Ian Burt

Students at Northgate High School in Dereham, have been making crafts for the charity Dementia Friends. Pictured are (from left) Adam Birks (16), Katie Mulligan (15), Jess Abreu (16) and Beth Barlow (16). Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

Caring students at Northgate High School in Dereham are bringing some Christmas cheer to elderly residents this year and raising money for a dementia charity.

Students at Northgate High School in Dereham, have been making crafts for the charity Dementia Friends. With her winning Christmas Card is Jasmine Irwin (12). Picture: Ian Burt Students at Northgate High School in Dereham, have been making crafts for the charity Dementia Friends. With her winning Christmas Card is Jasmine Irwin (12). Picture: Ian Burt

A group of Year 11s have formed a blossoming relationship with residents at Eckling Grange care home in the town after deciding to set up a lunchtime club aimed at giving something back to their community.

Now with Christmas approaching they have enlisted the help of some year 7s to make small gifts to sell at the town’s festive light switch on event on Sunday, December 3.

With the proceeds they want to buy gifts for their new friends at Eckling Grange and give a donation to the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme.

At school yesterday Katie Mulligan, 15, Adam Birks, 16, Jessica Abreu, 16 and Bethany Barlow, 16, were supervising some of the craft workshops where everything from felted candy cane mice to bags of bird food to carved tree decorations were being made.

Students at Northgate High School in Dereham, have been making crafts for the charity Dementia Friends. Pictured are Adam Jermey (12) and Ella Grahame (12). Picture: Ian Burt Students at Northgate High School in Dereham, have been making crafts for the charity Dementia Friends. Pictured are Adam Jermey (12) and Ella Grahame (12). Picture: Ian Burt

Katie, who spearheaded the formation of the Giving Back club, said they visit Eckling Grange every week and enjoy their visits as much as the residents.

“They compliment us a lot and are always talking about our eyes and teeth and they love our school uniform and badges,” she said. “It is a lovely experience for us.”

Jessica added: “They don’t always remember us and they like to talk about the same things but it makes us feel good. They love talking about their childhood and who they miss and it puts things in perspective because we’ve still got our parents.”

Adam said it “gives you a warm feeling” because the residents are always smiling.

Students at Northgate High School in Dereham, have been making crafts for the charity Dementia Friends. Picture: Ian Burt Students at Northgate High School in Dereham, have been making crafts for the charity Dementia Friends. Picture: Ian Burt

A Christmas card design competition was also held and won by 12-year-old Jasmine Irwin.

The Dereham Carnival committee, who are organising this year’s Christmas Lights event, have given the school a double stall in Church Street for free to sell their wares between 12pm and 5pm on the day. The school choir will also be involved singing carols.

Deputy head Zoe Galley said: “The best thing for me is seeing how the students respond to people with dementia. They are wonderful and it has been a very emotional experience.”

Visit the website www.derehamchristmas.co.uk for more information about the event.

Students at Northgate High School in Dereham, have been making crafts for the charity Dementia Friends. Picture: Ian Burt Students at Northgate High School in Dereham, have been making crafts for the charity Dementia Friends. Picture: Ian Burt

Students at Northgate High School in Dereham, have been making crafts for the charity Dementia Friends. Picture: Ian Burt Students at Northgate High School in Dereham, have been making crafts for the charity Dementia Friends. Picture: Ian Burt

Students at Northgate High School in Dereham, have been making crafts for the charity Dementia Friends. Picture: Ian Burt Students at Northgate High School in Dereham, have been making crafts for the charity Dementia Friends. Picture: Ian Burt

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