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Sheringham care home celebrates the power of poetry

11:26 07 October 2012

Jack Earle, 99, with fellow poetry-lover Tim Leadbeater of Suncourt Nursing Home, Sheringham.

Jack Earle, 99, with fellow poetry-lover Tim Leadbeater of Suncourt Nursing Home, Sheringham.

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The words of poets from Emily Bronte to William Blake filled the air at Sheringham nursing home Suncourt, when residents and visitors gave readings on the theme of Stars to celebrate National Poetry Day.

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Home owner manager Tim Leadbeater first decided to mark the annual event 14 years ago, after finding that residents with communication problems had responded well to the twice-weekly poetry sessions he ran.

“I noticed that one lady who had difficulty speaking was mouthing the words, and she even continued after I had stopped, which brought home to me the fact that poetry really is a powerful tool,” he said.

Suncourt has held a poetry event every year since, with residents and their families reciting work including self-penned poems, and the home employing professional actors to give readings.

Readers at this year’s event included former schools inspector and Royal Navy meteorologist Jack Earle, 99, who read poems by his late wife Anne.

Staff also taped up snippets of poems by Edgar Allen Poe and Rebecca Elson on doors and windows around the home.

“Poetry stimulates memories, it can be something that people feel a connection with, and it is something that draws people back to their earlier experiences,” Mr Leadbeater said.

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