A LIFE SIZE Santa’s sleigh and Rudolf was created by residents and staff at a County Durham care home for their winning Christmas competition entry.
Pelton Grange Care Home, Front Street, Pelton, was declared the winner of the Hill Care Group competition after their inventive, festive submission impressed the judges.
The care home was one of nine across the North East to submit an entry, with the winner being used on the company’s Christmas fayre banners and posters and distributed as an electronic card to healthcare professionals and community contacts.
Among the other entrants was Mandale House Care Home, in Thornaby, Teesside, which saw residents create robins using their thumbprints.
However, Pelton Grange was named the winner, after residents and staff spent more than two weeks making Rudolf and the sleigh from cardboard, polystyrene, papier mâché, paint, and an upcycled crushed velvet curtain.
A winter wonderland scene was then put together, including a white backdrop, snowmen and Christmas presents, before residents Ernest Guy, 84, and Hazel Copeland, 85, sat in the sleigh for a photo.
Ernest said: “I didn’t think the sleigh was going to be this big. It’s amazing we can fit two people inside.”
After learning his care home had won the competition and he would appear across Hill Care’s festive posters and banners, Ernest added: “You’re never too old to try something new. I never thought I would be a model in my 80s.”
Suzanne Pratt, activities coordinator at Pelton Grange Care Home, was the organiser behind their entry, discussing plans with residents, finding and drawing Rudolf templates on cardboard, and helping to assemble the final scene.
She said: “When Rudolf was in segments, residents thought it looked more like a duck. Once the pieces were glued, they could see it turn into a reindeer.
“No one realised how big the reindeer or sleigh were going to be, so when it was built everyone had a lovely surprise.
“Residents built the sleigh and reindeer to make a beautiful foyer display. It was Hazel’s idea to adapt the design for our Christmas card competition entry.”
Beth Stevenson, divisional director for the Hill Care Group, was one of the judges for the competition. She said: “Judging this competition wasn’t easy I have to say. Some great entries with lots of thought and effort.
“I was blown away by the imagination that residents’ and staff have shown.
“To me this is one of the best displays of person-centred activities I have ever seen and I’m so proud of the design that is the face of Hill Care’s Christmas greetings. Congratulations to the residents at Pelton Grange.”