Stars from the cast of the international hit play War Horse meet some real life war heroes, in Salford, at one of the UK’s most unique care homes – Cause UK’s client, Broughton House.
MD of Cause UK, Clair, negotiated with the National Theatre and The Lowry to attend the care home with the hit production to help raise awareness of the charity.
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Members of the cast of War Horse, the National Theatre’s hit show, gave an exclusive performance to the ex-military service men and women, with a surprise visit from the star of the show Joey.
Broughton House is a 50 bed care home and charity in Salford for elderly residents who have war related conditions and complex needs, such as traumatic amputations, dementia and other physical and mental health issues. Opened in 1916 in Salford, Broughton House has cared for 8,000 ex-army or merchant navy servicemen and women.
The cast and residents were all visibly moved by the visit and the appearance by Joey, the life size, galloping, breathing puppet horse, who trotted into the care home’s dining room.
War Horse cast member Joe Dark, who plays Topthorne’s Heart said;
“It was a really emotional experience hearing the stories that people had to tell, seeing how emotionally engaged they were with what we were doing and finding that they had parents that worked with horses in the war. It really showed me why we do what we do as storytellers and to touch these people that have a personal experience of this sort of thing was fantastic, it was beautiful.”
Resident Ozzy Osborne, an 86 year old Parachute Regiment Veteran of World War 2 said;
“Joey was fantastic – he looks so real. My father was in the Great War and a member of the Royal Horse Artillery so it was a treat to see the War Horse company. My Dad always did say that the horses were looked after better than the soldiers in the War !”
Chris Harper, the producer of War Horse, said;
“We were honoured to be invited to give an exclusive performance to Broughton House. It’s so much more than a care home; it’s a place of pride. It has its own fascinating museum of military memorabilia donated by residents and friends over the years, dating back to 1916. The elderly men and women it supports capture the spirit of the story of War Horse; the bravery, sacrifice and stoic nature of our grandparents and great grandparents who lived through the most trying conflicts of the 20th century. What is even more remarkable is their inspiring spirit that lives on today, even when they’re at their most vulnerable and elderly. I think a home like this which honours their sacrifices gives residents a strong sense of identity and purpose.”
Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart congratulated the cast for taking the show out to the veterans. He said; “We must never forget the sacrifices made by so many brave men and women, especially on the verge of the commemoration of the First World War.”
Chief Executive Officer of Broughton House, Squadron Leader Chris Thomas, said;
“War Horse is helping us put the spotlight on elderly Veterans who are often invisible in the media and society at large, but there’s a very real need to ensure they get the quality of care they deserve. It’s the least we can do for them after they risked their lives serving for their country.”
War Horse is running at The Lowry, Salford until 18 January, 2014 and returns for a run from 23 July to 20 September 2015.