In the bleak midwinter snow and frost last Saturday afternoon, the remaining residents of Loughloe House and their families enjoyed Christmas music and festivities in the dining room of the nursing home.
Athlone showband musician, Joe Flynn, whose sister Chrissie is a resident of Loughloe House, sang the Christmas songs alongside the group on the day. Eileen Paradise, who is a friend of resident Jimmy Reilly, sang on many Christmas duets with Joe. Jimmy also sang many a solo song himself on the day, and gave some brilliant George Formby and Al Jolson impersonations.
The gathering at the party ranged in age from one-year-old twins to the 90-year-old Mary Durcan, and many others of all ages in between. However special guests on the day were undoubtedly Blackey and Whitey, Jimmy’s now famous dogs. The campaign by the Loughloe House supporters has also been about saving the dogs for Jimmy, as well as campaigning for the remaining residents to have a home at Loughloe for their final years.
They have also been campaigning to make sure that Athlone people will have their own public nursing home in future.
The party ended on a high note, with ‘White Christmas’ being sung by the residents and families, and with them vowing that Christmas 2010 will not be their last Christmas in Loughloe. They cheered and promised each other that, by next year, there will be more residents living at the Athlone nursing home, in addition to the current residents.