Villagers from Fernhill Heath and the surrounding area are being invited to join residents of Fernhill House for a series of free, fun events in the New Year.   

The home is hosting a clutch of activities over the coming weeks and, as always, is keen to involve those from surrounding villages to help residents feel part of the wider community.   

Worcestershire photographer and travel enthusiast Ray Sturdy presents one of the popular travel and social history shows he tours around the county to raise money for Cancer Research UK on Friday January 5 at 2pm.   

He will be remembering the Swinging Sixties and taking a nostalgic look at events which shaped the lives at those living half a century ago.   

Ray explained: “Britain had new cars, motorways, new housing, a youth boom and petrol at 5/- (25p) per gallon. Pop music, The Beatles, Twiggy and Concorde arrived in a decade of change and revolution. There were scandals, a royal wedding, a walk and almost a nuclear war!”   

Teas, coffees and home-made cakes will be available during the talk.   The following week, Friday January 12 at 1pm, sees a visit from a menagerie thanks to animal handling experience company Zoolab.   

Residents and visitors will be encouraged to stroke, pet and hold spiders, reptiles and furry mammals.   

Home manager Peta Mandleberg explained: “We are firm believers at Fernhill House in the power of animal therapy. I often bring my two labradoodles in to visit the residents. Zoolab offers a rather different animal encounter. Holding a tarantula may not be as soothing as stroking a dog but it provides an interesting sensory experience and is certainly unusual! Animal-assisted therapy is recognised as an occupational therapy within psychology. Animals can bring people together, helping them see things with a different perspective and to cope in the most adverse of situations.”   

And for those in search of a bit of culture, a duo from the Worcestershire-based English Symphony Orchestra, aka the International Orchestra of Elgar Country, will perform on Thursday January 25th at 11am.   The orchestra is regarded as a major force in British musical life, has recorded a full-length opera (the world premiere of John Joubert’s Jane Eyre) and released recordings including Classic FM’s Disc of the Week. The Elgar Piano Quintet and the Sunday Times Essential New Release the Complete Piano Concertos of Ernst Krenek.