As King Charles III and Queen Camilla ascended to the throne at the weekend, customers and families at Belong villages across the North West and Midlands marked the historic occasion with coronation extravaganzas to remember.
For the celebration centrepiece, the dementia specialist’s Didsbury care village, Belong Morris Feinmann, formed a singing group, led by Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) alumnus and Manchester choirmaster extraordinaire, Dan McDwyer.
Having been rehearsing since January, The Tomforte Choir dazzled their families and guests with a collection of favourites, including an Abba medley, God Save the King, and one of His Majesty’s most beloved tunes: They Can’t Take That Away from Me.
Customers at Belong’s seven other villages and home care service, Belong at Home, dressed in their best to enjoy the momentous gatherings which transported them back to parties of the past, with live entertainment, food, bubbly and the sharing of stories from previous royal festivities conjuring happy memories of days gone by.
Other highlights alongside the many helpings of Victoria sponge cake included royal quizzes and reminiscence sessions, bake-offs and fairground games. Young friends from local schools paid visits for intergenerational arts sessions and musical performances, following weeks of preparation which saw customers designing their own flags, bunting and decorations to adorn their homes.
For the big moment itself, Union Jacks were waved as Belong customers cheered on the royals from their respective in-house entertainment venues, before tucking into a fancy banquet inspired by British cuisine classics and accompanied by a tipple or two. Later, more gala festivities followed, including music and dancing and a joyful atmosphere.
Sue Goldsmith, chief operating officer at Belong said: “Our customers have many fond memories of past royal occasions, including Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation 70 years ago, so we took the lead from what they wanted to see, bringing to life their ideas for how to celebrate. The result was right royal knees-ups across our villages, inspired by their memories, infused with modern take – a fantastic party that will be talked about for years to come!”
Last year, not-for-profit Belong was chosen to feature in the official publication of Her Majesty The Queen: The Official Platinum Jubilee Pageant Album. The book commends outstanding individuals and organisations from across the country and the Commonwealth that have had an impact on life in the UK during the seven decades of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.