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Parklands launches a Christmas cracker of a podcast

19 December 2023

Parklands Care Homes has launched a festive issue of its podcast series, Carecast.
The 45-minute Christmas special features interviews with residents and staff as they reflect on the most wonderful time of the year, and for residents it’s an opportunity to remember cherished Christmas memories from the past.
For Pauline Mackay, a resident at Eilean Dubh in Fortrose, Christmas has always been extra special. She married her late husband on Boxing Day and will raise a glass to him this Christmas. “I still think of him when that time comes round,” she says.
For many residents growing up after the war, money was tight, but Christmas was no less special. Nan Watson, a resident from Glenisla in Keith, still remembers the excitement of opening her Christmas gifts. “Just being ordinary folk, we didn’t have a lot of pennies, but I always remember I got an orange” she says.
Newcastle United fan Cresswell Reed, a resident at Eilean Dubh, remembers getting an apple and an orange and other stocking fillers, but the highlight for him would be waking up to a pair of football boots and a football on Christmas Day.
Resident Valerie Woodcock from Glenisla, a former teacher and keen pianist, wanted a Hymn Book as a young girl and her wish came true. She still has her treasured gift after all these years. “I’ve always loved singing,” she says.
Connie Torry, a resident at Weston View in Keith, adds: “We were a big family and although we didn’t have a lot of wordly goods, we had each other. It was wonderful, Christmas at that time. Family was Christmas. Christmas was family.”
Speyside resident Christine Yuill grew up on her father’s tomato farm where Christmas was just another working day. “We were always busy over Christmas and New year,” she says. She married a farmer and continued the tradition of working during the festive season. “We had dairy cows so we were up at 5 o’clock in the morning, it didn’t matter if it was Christmas or New Year.”
The podcast also catches up with staff as they gear up for the busy festive season.
Debbie Ironside, activity coordinator at Urray House in Muir of Ord, said: “We treat it like you would have Christmas at home with your own family. It’s no different, it’s just a bigger family here. Just seeing the smiles on everybody’s faces, the atmosphere, I just I love Christmas here, it’s so special.”
Sophie Legge, a shift leader at Burnbank in Buckie, says she often chooses to work on Christmas Day because of the “brilliant” atmosphere.
She says: “I’ve actually chosen to work at Christmas a lot of years because it’s a great atmosphere. At home you’d be with your family, but here you’re with your Parklands family. We’re really close. All the residents are suberb. It’s a brilliant day here.”
At Netherha in Buckie, residents and have been busy raising money and collecting food for local charities. Shift leader Shirley Anderson says: “It’s really important to the residents to know that they’re helping others in the community. They come from a generation where everyone pitched in together and helped each other, so we do the best we can to support them with that.”
The podcast also hears from international staff living and working in Scotland, far from family and friends, including some from the southern hemisphere, where it’s currently summer.
Jasmin Mathew, activities coordinator at Lynemore in Grantown, is celebrating her fifth Christmas in Scotland, and feels “Christmas makes a lot more sense over here for me, it’s more festive.”
With Christmas in Sydney around 30c, she adds: “It’s all very confusing, we have the Christmas tree with the fake snow on it, none of it makes sense!” Most Christmas Days are spent on the beach or cricket pitch.
“I like the frosty cold nights,” says Moya Boonzaaier, an activity coordinator at Speyside in Aberlour. “I never thought I would enjoy the cold, but it is just extra special, the frost, the snow. You get to love it. I do enjoy the different atmosphere having Christmas in wintertime.”
The podcast also includes Christmas songs from the Heartstrings Choir, which comprises residents from Speyside and Glenisla care homes.
You can download the podcast at
You can watch the Heartstrings Choir below.