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“It’s not very rock’n’roll. It’s more like the Bake Off with guitars.”

So says Ian Donaghy, organiser of the Forever Young Music Festival – and it proved to be a winning combination.

Photographs by Duncan Lomax of Ravage Productions

People of all ages gathered at the Grimston Court Residential Care Home on Hull Road for a day of music, dancing, cake and all manner of related fun.

Among those performing were Steve Cassidy, Jess Steel and Heather Findlay.

And it went down a storm with the large audience: “What a fantastic day all round! Great entertainment in both marquees,” said Beryl Long, a key player in York Musical Theatre for the past 60 years.

All ages involved

There was also a group put together especially for the event called The Old Fiddles, made up of veteran musicians who have played with star names including the Rolling Stones and Tom Jones.

People were welcomed at the gate by Kenny Stamp playing Disney favourites on trombone and Kieran White delivering requests on piano.

All ages were represented on the stages, from under tens in the Valley Arts Youth Theatre Group and 12-year-old Maggie Wakeling, to the Royale Accordian group whose average age is 85.

The festival was free with a ‘pay what you think its worth’ donation policy.

It raised £7,500, with Age UK York and St Leonard’s Hospice receiving £3,750 each.

‘A phenomenal event’

Chief officer at Age UK York Sally Hutchinson said: “What a phenomenal event at Grimston. Magic happens when we bring generations together sharing experiences, fun and cake!”

Ian, who is author of Alzheimer’s Society-endorsed book Dear Dementia: The Laughter And The Tears, said it wasn’t a festival for old people, but for all people.

He added:

The problem with so many people’s perception of older people is they think like the grand Old Duke of York: ‘March them up to the top of the hill and march them down again’.

Why not just keep marching up with a big smile on our face to stay as young as possible? We can learn so much from their sharing their experience.

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