"The residents loved it and made us do the routine five times in all"

Shaun Harrington-Lunt, tutor of our Route to Independence programme (R2I), recalls staff Thriller performance from 2011...

"With Halloween just around the corner, the staff wanted to give the residents on R2I something special to look forward to. We had spoken about a few ideas, but nothing was really grabbing us until I had the idea to recreate Michael Jackson’s Thriller video.

I sat and watched it that evening. This was definitely the one. I shared my thoughts with the staff the next morning and they all loved the idea; the Halloween Party plan was off with a bang.

At the time, we were working in the Alamein Unit in the Resource Centre, a huge open area that would make an amazing graveyard. We started pooling our idea on decoration and we were so blessed to have such a creative team. The ideas flowed quickly. The residents were as keen as us and, before we knew it, their art sessions became committed to the party.

As ever, the fantastic Wish List provided us with a cheque to visit ASDA and buy Halloween bunting, pumpkins and all things spooky. 

In all, we had about a month to prepare and, while the residents were busy making the decorations, the Care team were quietly preparing for the great surprise of the Thriller dance and practicing each day in the activities centre. All eight members of staff, Marta, Hannah, Jo, Vanessa, Gary, Sarah, Ellen, and Marge gave up their lunch hour for nearly a month. I would go home, watch the video, learn the short routine in front of a long mirror and then we would all meet the next lunchtime and practice, practice, practice. I have to say, as time got closer, we stayed at the end of shift to practice a bit more too – we wanted this to be perfect.

In the end, we couldn’t have wished for anything better. The residents loved it and made us do the routine five times in all, including twice during the party. We had all sourced our own costumes and so many of the residents dressed up too. We put lots of fun games around the hall and the Alamein Unit looked wonderful, full of apple bobbing, lucky dips, free raffles and lots of Monster Mash-style music.

The residents couldn’t stop smiling - our work here is done."

See more of our 100 Stories...

100 Stories: How Enham Alamein got its name
100 Stories: Chloe Plummer

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