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Penguins bring Christmas cheer to the elderly in Wiltshire

Posted on 07th December 2016

Some feathered friends are bringing early Christmas cheer to elderly people in a Wiltshire care home this month. To lift the spirits of residents before the festive season, Avonbourne Care Centre in Old Sarum, invited two penguins from a breeding colony to greet the residents in the home.

Humboldt Penguins

This comes after the news that a large proportion of older people in the UK consider themselves lonely, with 3.9 million agreeing that the television is their ‘main form of company’.

The penguins, named Charlie and Pringle, were brought it from a breeding colony at Heythrop Zoological Gardens in Oxfordshire, and were accompanied by children from a local nursery who visited the centre’s residents in an attempt to build bridges between generations and inspire the older residents to get active and interact with others this Christmas.

In a video by the BBC, a lady told reporters, “I love it. I love it. I wish I was one!” The centre manager, Esther Thomas, told the Salisbury Journal:

“I had arranged for reindeer to visit the last home I worked at in Melksham, so I decided to do the same when I came here, but with penguins.”

South American Humboldt penguins Charlie and Pringle are said to be used to human company, having been introduced to crowds as chicks and grown up with lots of attention. On their holiday to Wiltshire, the penguins seem to enjoy receiving the residents’ affection as much as Avonbourne occupants loved giving it. The visit was a roaring success, and the centre is soon set to be honoured by the presence of a reindeer on December 23rd to continue the festivities.

Image Credit: Belgian Chocolate (Visualhunt)