Strictly a wish come true as care home brings ballroom surprise to Maureen, 97

6 June 2023

A 97-year-old lover of dance enjoyed a wish come true when the team at Woodpeckers arranged ballroom dancers to perform for her as a birthday treat.

Maureen Miller said she ‘couldn’t believe it’ when ten members of Southampton University’s Ballroom and Latin Dance Society arrived at Woodpeckers to entertain her and fellow residents.

The group performed a series of routines including waltzes and a jive in the lounge of our New Forest Care Home.

“I was blown away by the gesture,” said Maureen. “I couldn’t believe the team at the home had done this for me.”

To add further Strictly-style fun to the afternoon, four residents were given judging paddle boards and scored each dance out of ten, with the top two pairs coming back and dancing again for the votes of all the residents.

In the end, the jive won by a unanimous vote.

Sian Harris, Companionship Team member at Woodpeckers, said: “Maureen and I have had many chats about how she used to dance when she was younger as a hobby. She particularly loved ballroom dancing and had many dance partners in her time.

“She loves Strictly Come Dancing and this was all about bringing a bit of Strictly magic to her, and to bring back all the memories of her dancing past.

“It was lovely to be able to fulfil a wish for her and help her celebrate her 97th birthday.”

After the dancing, the young visitors presented Maureen with a birthday card and chocolates and then spent an hour chatting to her and fellow residents about dancing and their studies at university.

Sian added: “All the residents really enjoyed the afternoon and were so grateful to this talented young group for giving up their time to come and see us.”

Southampton University’s Ballroom and Latin Dance Society teaches dance at both a social and competitive level. It provides weekly classes for all standards and members compete regularly against other universities across the country.