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Home Health & Wellbeing Appeal to restore care home piano

Appeal to restore care home piano

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An appeal has been launched to raise money to restore a self-playing piano, so that it can be used to entertain residents at a local care home.

Roger and his wife Polly enjoying the Pianola, circa 1983.

Roger Taylor, 86, has enjoyed music all his life. As a young boy he was an Eton College Chorister and played the trumpet and the piano and a period in the armed forces stretched his talents to the bugle.

Roger now suffers from dementia and lives at High Broom Care Home in Crowborough. His family are now trying to restore a much loved possession – a 1910 Pianola.

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Roger’s daughters, Trudy Harper and Melanie Siggs, and five grandchildren recall entertaining family gatherings where they all took turns at pedalling enthusiastically at tunes like ‘Daisy Daisy’ and ‘Get Me to the Church on Time’ provided lively sing-alongs.

The Pianola is now in need of repair and restoration. It is dated from before the First World War but has good quality parts. Michael Boyd, a Pianola restorer from Rye, is confident he can create a fully working model.

The family are extremely grateful for the care staff at High Broom give Roger. He now suffers from dementia but is a physically fit man who needs entertainment and activity. Trudy and Melanie are aware that the home has faced many challenges over the period of the pandemic and are keen to give them a gift that will make a difference.

A fund has been launched to restore the Pianola and give to High Broom for the enjoyment of the whole community.

Karen Theobald, Manager at High Broom Care Home, said:

I was absolutely thrilled when Trudy informed me of her plans regarding the very kind donation of their Family Pianola, and it couldn’t have come at a more poignant time! Our Residents have enjoyed a piano recital every Friday morning for several years by one of our very dedicated volunteers, but Covid has sadly put a stop to these recitals for the foreseeable future. The refurbished Pianola will fill that gap a treat!

Roger has lived and worked in Europe, spent 20 years with the National Trust, including several years as the custodian at Batemans, Rudyard Kipling’s family home in Burwash. He and his wife Polly moved house many times and were accompanied by the Pianola.

Trudy, Rogers daughter commented:

I am very excited at the prospect of this wonderful instrument being in use again and I hope it will bring a twinkle to Dads eye. He suffers from quite advanced dementia now, but music is known to unlock memories and it would be wonderful if he remembers how to work it. He can show the youngest member of our family, his new great grandson in the same way he did his grandchildren.

A GoFundMe Appeal for £2,000 has been launched and High Broom Care Home and the family would be very grateful for any donations to help make this rather unusual Christmas more exciting for a local care home.

Alternatively, donations can be sent to Mrs Melanie Siggs, 82 Forest Dene, Crowborough TN6 2EX.

For further information email pianolamemories@gmail.com.

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