North East Connected

Teesside care home residents try to p-p-pick up a penguin

A GIANT penguin waddled into a Teesside care home to the delight of residents as part of activities to mark World Penguin Day.

Residents at Ingleby Care Home, on Lamb Lane, Ingleby Barwick, were surprised to see the human-sized aquatic bird pop through the door into the living room.

The penguin, played by care assistant Vicky Orrell, then quizzed residents on their penguin knowledge, such as what percentage of their lives they spend in the water and whether they can fly.

Residents also got up close to real penguins using a VR headset and watching videos on YouTube. Several tried to stroke and pick up the black-and-white birds as they took a tour of their habitat.

They also adopted a penguin, a Humboldt from Sewerby Hall and Gardens, in Bridlington. Residents perused the penguins on the Zoo’s website before picking their favourite and coming up with a name.

After some discussion, resident Lenny Smith chose the name Peter. He said: “It sounds fitting, doesn’t it? P-p-Peter the penguin.”

During the VR session, resident Norma Buxton jumped when she saw how close the penguin was to her. She said: “They all look so cute. It’s been a long time since I’ve been up this close.”

After donning the headset, Joyce Heward said: “That’s a bit close to me. Can I stroke it?”

When the dressed-up Vicky entered the room looking like 80s children’s TV penguin Pingu, resident Edith Hook said: “That’s the best thing I’ve seen.”

Judith Iceton joked: “Well where are we going to keep this then, as he isn’t sharing my room.”

Kirsty Walsh, activities coordinator at Ingleby Care Home, said: “The highlight of the day was when Vicky dressed up in a penguin suit and walked around chatting to residents about penguin facts.

“We then enjoyed having a go on the VR headset, as we watched them swimming around. Residents were trying to point at them.

“Some residents wanted to know if we could have Peter the penguin to stay in our garden but they agreed that the birdbath just wouldn’t be big enough for him.

“We look forward to hanging our certificate up to show everyone we now have Peter the penguin in our Ingleby family.”

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