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Coronavirus: Concert performed at care home to cheer up residents after 14 people die

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Residents at a care home where 14 people died from suspected coronavirus have been treated to a morale-boosting concert.

Staff and residents at Stanley Park Care Home, in County Durham, wept as tribute star Deborah Taylor-Smith sang a number of wartime classics from outside the main building.

The 37-year-old Vera Lynn tribute act, also known as ‘Wor Vera’, belted out hits including “White Cliffs of Dover” and “We’ll Meet Again”.

Local wedding photographer Kelly Matthews, who organised the event, told Yahoo News UK: “The atmosphere was lovely, it was very emotional.

“People haven't seen their families for weeks because they're not allowed in.”

Read more: Concert performed at care home to cheer up residents after 14 people die

Residents at Stanley Park Care Home (Picture: Kelly Matthews)
Residents at Stanley Park Care Home (Picture: Kelly Matthews)

Matthews added: “When we did the live video feed they got to see their family.

“Some of the family were outside but obviously because of social distancing, were not going to get close.

“Some drove there and just sat outside in their cars and waved to their family members.”

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She praised singer Taylor-Smith, who she said had volunteered to sing outside care homes for free in order to cheer up residents.

Matthews organised a concert for Stanley Park when she heard about the offer because she wanted to cheer up residents after the coronavirus deaths.

Singer Deborah Taylor-Smith outside Stanley Park Care Home, in County Durham (Picture: Kelly Matthews)
Singer Deborah Taylor-Smith outside Stanley Park Care Home, in County Durham (Picture: Kelly Matthews)

Matthews added: “It was all negative but as soon as she started singing the mood just lifted.

“The residents came out on the balcony and they were dancing and singing with their masks on.”

She said: “I'm a local photographer so I know everyone around here.

“I know quite a few people who have got residents in the home.

“They've had bad press recently because there have been quite a few deaths so I just wanted to make a positive thing.”

Read more: Woolwich Ferry does doughnuts in the Thames to support Clap for Carers

Matthews said singer Taylor-Smith was planning to record a version of Julie Garland’s “Over the Rainbow” and then release it to raise entertainment funds for care homes so they could book more singers in the future.

She added they were planning a second concert at Stanley Park Care Home

As many as 7,500 people are feared to have died after contracting coronavirus in care homes, according to a leading industry body.

Care England, which represents independent care firms, said it had collected data which suggested fatalities are far higher than those released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – who recorded 217 care home deaths from the virus up until April 3.

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