Residents at a Durham care home had “huge grins” on their faces after passing on their green-fingered tips to youngsters from a local school.

The children learned from their elderly hosts how to plant seeds in the courtyard garden at Bowburn Care Centre and had their names put on to pots so that they could measure the difference next time they visit.

Twelve pupils from Bowburn Junior School revelled in rolling up their sleeves to plant flowers, pumpkins, cucumbers and other vegetables – and enjoyed hearing stories from the residents and playing croquet and quoits with them.

“Our residents were enthralled to have such great rapport with the children, who were aged seven and eight,” said Susan Hogg, manager of the care centre, which is based in the former mining village of Bowburn and is run by the award-winning St Philips Care group.

“They had huge grins on their faces for days after the visit. Quite often the residents don’t spend long outdoors because they start to feel chilly – but not one of them wanted to come back inside during the school’s visit.

“It was a wonderful treat for our residents and for the children, who loved interacting with them and enjoyed stroking our pet rabbits.”

The residents are now looking forward to the next visit from Bowburn Junior School in a couple of months’ time.

Tiffany Elliott, a teacher at the school, said: “All of our Year 3 pupils, including those who did not go to the home, designed a coaster as part of a personal social, health and economic (PSHE) lesson to give to the residents.

“Pupils thoroughly enjoyed themselves, as did the residents, who explained to the children how to plant seeds and told them stories.”

The purpose-built home, which specialises in residential nursing and dementia care, has four units named after the coal seams well known in Bowburn – Hutton, Tilley, Low Main and Brockwell.

Each unit has 20, en-suite bedrooms and is a self-contained community, with its own lounges, dining rooms and fully-equipped bathrooms with the latest facilities.

The home’s owners, St Philips Care, recently clinched the UK Over 50s Housing award for being the “most outstanding” care group in the UK, with judges describing the company as the “lighthouse to a generation”.

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