• Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

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A PIANIST with over nine decades of experience at the keys has been wowing staff, residents and visitors at the Teesside care home where he lives.

Jim Cargill, 98, began learning piano when he was five years old and, 93 years later, continues to play at The Gables Care Home, on Highfield Road, in Middlesbrough.

A recent visit from the Middlesbrough FC Foundation’s National Citizen Service (NCS) saw Jim playing alongside one student more than 80 years his junior.

Monica Daniels, 16, played a rendition of Camila Cabello’s hit single Havana on Jim’s piano before he gave his expert opinion: “She plays very good.”

Alongside Jim and Monica’s performance, the NCS students continued the musical activities singing karaoke for residents. They also played games and made friendship bracelets, which they presented to the residents.

Jessica Sumner, activities coordinator at The Gables Care Home, said: “It was fantastic to see Jim interacting with the young students from the Middlesbrough FC Foundation NCS and getting to play piano with the next generation.

“I’ve recently, for the first time, managed to record him and he plays so beautifully.

“I brought one of our residents Bert Jackson, who has dementia, to listen before as he loves classical music and doesn’t really join in with much else.

“Staff always say how lovely he plays, as you can hear it through the home when he starts. It is beautiful.”

Jim was born in Hartlepool and grew up in Thornaby, where he received piano lessons at home from his father, who was also a pianist and played church organ.

He later lived in Middlesbrough, where he worked as a church minister, but he always played piano for himself and never performed professionally.

Married for 58 years, he has five children, seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren, who he occasionally plays for when they visit the care home.

Jim donated his prized piano to the home when he moved in, in January 2018, and still plays on a weekly basis.

Jessica added: “It is fantastic that Jim still plays and enjoys it as much as he does. Everyone else at The Gables loves it when he plays – it’s always such a treat.

“Jim is such a gentleman and it was so nice of him to donate his piano to the home.”