A VIRTUAL Grand National was held at a Saltburn care home – after the real thing was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Residents at Hazelgrove Court Care Home, on Randolph Street, picked and named their horses made from pool noodles ahead of their race.
The home’s activities coordinator Sharon Lewis folded the foam cylinders and stuck on paper ears, googly eyes and nostrils to make them look like racing horses.
They were then represented by mini versions on a course made by Sharon, with a dice deciding how far each horse progressed on their turn.
Joyce Baxtrum took the win with her horse, which she had the foresight to name Winner.
Joyce Tibbett named hers Hope for the Future, in reference to the current pandemic. Other residents chose more traditional names, with Donald Ingledew naming his horse Rob Roy, Susan Turner’s was called Susan Folly, Walter Ross had Iris and Jean Caley had Dancer.
After winning the race, Joyce was presented with an Easter egg and fake cheque for £44,000 – the same amount as the winning jockey receives at the Grand National. She said: “It was great fun. Right, I’m off to the Bahamas now.”
Sharon said: “Everyone usually loves watching the Grand National each year at Hazelgrove Court, so we wanted to create our own to replace the real thing after it was cancelled.
“The residents all thoroughly enjoyed our virtual Grand National. They loved the pool noodle horses and the race was tense from start to finish – just like the real thing.
“Donald’s horse, Rob Roy, fell at Beeches Brook and Jean’s Dancer took a tumble at the water jump, clearing the way for Joyce to glide through to win the race.
“We might have to run our virtual Grand National again when the real one happens next year, as the residents enjoyed it so much.”