My words cannot do justice to UGT.The hall was packed, the stage was set ,the atmosphere was electric , (helped by the fact the bar had been open since 5pm) Grandma and her friend Del were in the front row and I was on the judges table. I was sandwiched between the other lovely judges , Paddy , a 92 year old Irish male resident, whose scoring was erratic and his post-act comments were to the point e.g. ”I wish I was younger” and ”you sound like me coming home from the pub after a few pints ” and Jonathan , a very beautiful,gentle, male ,Filipino model, who told me he was a special friend of someone who worked there.
There were 10 acts. One lady ,Alice, with quite severe dementia , showed the beautiful portraits she had painted ( very moving ), Grandma recited ‘There was a lady all skin and bones'( very scary ). In my judges comments I did point out that while other children were having Flopsy Bunny type bedtime stories , I was listening to this kind of stuff.One residents’ 2 children sang separately ‘heal the world ‘ and ‘The sun’ll come out tomorrow’ ( very sweet…and brave ), another resident , now in her nineties read a poem she had written when she was 7 , just after her father had died ( very poignant and beautiful ) and then the staff came on . They were brilliant, Uplands really has got talent .We had Burmese dancing , beautiful folk singing, belted out ballads, passionate gospel singing, but for me the hi-light was ‘Shula and her girls’.Now where do I start ? OK , there were 3 beautiful young Filipino girls wearing black leggings and T-shirts, and adorned in pink sarongs and covered in jewels, hiding their faces behind pink fans and dancing around an older , larger male Filipino guy in drag. It was hysterical. The audience went wild. If people could have got out of there wheelchairs , I’m sure they would have got a standing ovation. Due to Paddy’s erratic scoring , Josephine the Nurse won , for her amazing , belted out gospel song .
By 9.30. it was over, Grandma was pooped and retired to her bed, but we were all invited to stay on and party, to celebrate the fact that Uplands had ,that day, received it’s Beacon Award for ‘End of Life’ Care. There’s an irony there somewhere.