Mother and daughter reunite in dance after three years and 11,000 miles apart

A delighted mother and daughter danced together in an emotional reunion at a Colten Care dementia care home after three years apart.
Nalini Bhagwat, a resident at St Catherines View in Winchester, welcomed her daughter Asha all the way from New Zealand specially for the visit.

Both are talented dancers and after Asha made her 11,500-mile (18,400 km) trip to the home, it wasn’t long before they were ready to show off some routines as a duo.

A member of a Middle Eastern dance group in New Zealand, Asha offered to entertain residents with a dazzling belly dancing performance dressed in a blue sequinned outfit.

After a few minutes and an offer for spectators to join in, Nalini was first to accept.
Companionship Team Leader Laura Sheldrake said: “It was the first time in three years they had been able to dance together and Nalini was so keen to be involved. She jumped straight up to be with Asha.
“Fellow residents joined in with clapping and were amazed at what Asha was doing. They kept saying how amazing she looked.

“Nalini told everyone ‘That’s my daughter’ as she watched with pride.

“We have never had a belly dancer perform here and when Asha offered, I immediately said yes. The look on Nalini’s face while Asha was dancing was just pure joy.

“We arrange a Zoom call for them every week since Asha lives on the other side of the world but it was lovely to see first-hand how close they are, hugging each other and dancing.

“It was an emotional reunion but a very happy one indeed. It was like they had never been apart.

“Asha performs belly dance routines in shows and even visits care homes in New Zealand so she was comfortable in offering to entertain our residents.

“All the residents loved the music, her beautiful costume and the dancing by her and Nalini. It was such a fun morning.”
Asha said: “It was amazing to be able to dance for the residents and especially for my mum.

“Not having seen her for so long has been hard and the first thing I did when I saw her was give her a massive hug. I cried, she cried, but they were happy tears.”
Although born in Kenya, Nalini spent most of her early years in Pune in the Marathi-speaking Indian state of Maharashtra.

She learned classical Indian dancing as a child and was good enough to be invited to perform in front of Marathi aristocracy.

Residents celebrate 72 years since saying: “I do”

We staged a magical anniversary party for two of our residents who were celebrating 72 years of marriage
Valerie and Bill Sharp, who married in 1951 after first meeting at a dance in Hull.

Our Aldbury’s Café had been specially decorated for the party with hearts, flowers and photographs taken at the couple’s wedding and during their many happy years together.

The festivities started with the reading of a congratulatory telegram from King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla and was followed by a special lunch, presents, music and laughter.

Bill and Val met when he asked her to dance. He later walked her home and revealed he had just joined the Royal Navy, before asking if she would write to him.

Val thought Bill must be older than her, as he was in the Navy, so she lied to him about her age and aqreed to write.

Bill had several long postings, up to two and a half years long, but they continued to write and still have their letters.

During one shore leave they decided to get married and tied the knot on March 31, 1951 at Saint Saviours Church in Hull.

They moved about the country during Bill’s time in the Navy, living in Portsmouth and then Dartmouth.

Their first son Steve was born in Hull and their second son David was born in Devon. And when Bill left the Navy they settled in Poole where their daughter Sarah was born.

They had many happy holidays in Malta, France, Spain and the Greek Islands, always wishing to be close to the sea. They also had a little sailing boat at Poole Harbour.

Over the years they have shared many interests including music and have supported Poole & Parkstone Choir (now Viva Voce choir), where they have many friends.

Bill was also a keen sportsman, playing squash well into his eighties, and being the oldest squash champion in Poole.

Bill, now 94 and Val, 92, have lived at The Aldbury since December 2022.

They have six grandchildren: Becky, Neil, Claire, Charlotte, Hannah and Joe. And nine great-grandchildren: Connor, Dylan, Fin, Tom, Jack, Millie, Tarna and Xander.

The youngest addition Ralphie-George was just 14 weeks old at the time of their anniversary.
The couple’s daughter Sarah Gilling said: “Mum and dad came to The Aldbury together as always and we are all so grateful to the fantastic Aldbury family who have continued to provide care and support to them and have enabled them to stay together. The party, the lunch, everything was amazing and we all had a lovely time celebrating their anniversary.”
Lunch was prepared by our Chef Izabela Turczyn-Kuzma who also baked a pink anniversary cake.

In the afternoon the Viva Voce choir visited.

Colten Companion Cara Duroe said: “The choir performed a lovely sing-a-long for all residents and left us one of their CDs to play in the future. It was a romantic and joyous celebration of a very special couple.”
Val said: “I couldn’t believe how wonderful the day was. I thought it was all a dream.”
Bill agreed: “We cherish every day we spend together and we are very thankful to all the staff who made our 72nd wedding anniversary so special. We couldn’t have asked for more.”