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Wedding singer out of work because of coronavirus lifts spirits at Magherafelt care homes

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Wayne Rodgers sings outside Milesian Manor nursing home in Magherafelt

Wayne Rodgers sings outside Milesian Manor nursing home in Magherafelt

Wayne Rodgers sings outside Milesian Manor nursing home in Magherafelt

A wedding singer forced into furlough by coronavirus control measures is helping nursing home residents reminisce about better days until restrictions are lifted.

Wayne Rodgers - who is a driving instructor by day and plays in the popular wedding band the Allstars at weekends and evenings - lost both sources of income in March.

Unused to being at home with a lot of time on his hands, Wayne jumped at the chance to entertain residents at the Manor nursing home in Magherafelt when it was suggested to him.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Wayne said: "I am not used to doing nothing so when the coronavirus controls came into effect I struggled to fill my day.

"I went from having weddings booked for every weekend from Easter into next year, to not knowing for sure when things will get back to how they were, and that was something I am just not used to.

"A bar owner I know mentioned a local nursing home were looking for ways they could keep residents entertained and keep their spirits up and he suggested I could sing but from a distance.

"The nursing home staff pass an extension lead out the window and I connect my laptop and sing. The staff bring the residents up to the windows and I sing songs I think they will connect to like Jim Reeves, The Drifters, Cliff Richard and some Irish traditional songs, too.

"Not only does it lift their spirits, it helps me, too, because I enjoy having something to do.

"The past few days have been great because residents can come out into the balcony in the good weather and listen because I am a safe enough distance away," he added.

"Even the residents who are confined to their beds are able to join in because the staff open the windows for them so they have something a wee bit different to listen to."

Mr Rodgers is now singing to Milesian Manor nursing home as well and is even able to do requests.

He added: "I was sad to see relatives arriving at the nursing homes who could only stand at a window and look in at their loved ones.

"What has been great for me, too, is that staff at Milesian Manor recorded a video from inside of the residents singing along - which made it even better for me because I can't see what is going on inside.

"That has been great for their relatives, too, and now, before I go to sing, I let local people know and ask them if there is a particular song their loved one would like to hear that will brighten up their day and let them remember times when things were better than they are now."

Belfast Telegraph