It began to look a lot like a Christmas at Evernden House last week as the sheltered scheme played host to a special festive event in collaboration with community group Memory Lane Café. 

Last Friday those involved with Memory Lane Café donned Santa hats to enjoy a pantomime and carol concert bringing together different parts of the local community to spread some Christmas joy. 

A talking goose, a lift to the top of the beanstalk and the occasional ‘dance break’ entertained all during a unique production of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, thanks to the diverse talent of Shauna and Molly from Red Gate Productions – a local production company dedicated to bringing a show time experience to those unable to go to the theatre themselves. 

Children from Cranbrook school were also on hand to join in with festive favourites including ‘Jingle Bell Rock’, ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland’ and clear audience favourite, ‘All I want for Christmas is You’ throughout the performance. 

Classics such as ‘Silver bells’ and ‘Santa Claus Is Coming to Town’ and more were then enjoyed in a follow-up sing-song, before Eve and Eva from the school then took centre stage to perform a ukulele/carol duet especially prepared for the Memory Lane event as guests tucked into mince pies. 

“I thought it was great. What’s good about coming here is the quality of performances we get to enjoy – it’s very good”, said Helen, a regular attendee of the community group’s events. 

Following a raffle, Kilndown Community Choir, who had specifically requested to perform at the event, then closed the day’s event with traditional songs to enjoy – leaving volunteers, carers and guests alike full of seasonal spirit. 

Memory Lane Café Cranbrook’s organiser, Susan Newsam, added: “Our annual festive pantomime is always extremely popular with the Memory Lane Cafe Cranbrook participants, as many used to visit the theatre with their families or take part in their youth. Performing a pantomime in the Evernden House lounge allows everyone the opportunity to watch without having to travel far.” 

She concludes: “Everyone left with a festive goodie bag and a smile on their faces which makes it all so very worthwhile.” 

Memory Lane Café was founded by Newsam to allow local residents living with dementia meet on a regular basis to enjoy each other’s company and enjoy themed events. Any member of the public who feels that they or a person they know may have a short term memory problem can drop in and be part of the café. The group is funded by Kent Community Foundation, Comic Relief and Kent County Council.