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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Sabrina Barr

Elderly woman receives visit from penguins as care home 'makes her dream come true'


An 85-year-old elderly woman was granted her greatest wish when she received a visit from two penguins at her care home.

Mavis Ede, who is a resident at Care UK‘s Highmarket House in Banbury, Oxfordshire, divulged to the team that look after her that she dreamed of seeing penguins in person.

The team were determined to make Ms Ede’s dream a reality, so much so that they organised a special visit from a couple of the flightless birds in her honour.

The “Wishing Tree” initiative at the care home allows residents to put a wish forward that they would like fulfilled.

Ms Ede’s wish saw two penguins – named Pringle and Charlie – waddle their way to the residence, with the help of organisation Amazing Animals.


The penguins live at Heythrop Zoological Gardens, an animal training centre in Oxfordshire.

They stay in a specially constructed enclosure, which features a penguin house, a swimming pool and a pebbled beach.

While visiting the Highmarket House care home, Charlie sat on Ms Ede’s lap, who was wearing a jumper embroidered with a couple of penguins.


Jo Pohl, home manager at Highmarket House, explained the thought process that went into making Ms Ede’ wish a reality.

“At our care home with a difference we always like to go the extra-mile for residents, and make their wishes come true – no matter how unusual,” Ms Pohl said.

“Mavis has always talked about penguins with a passion, so we were really excited to be able to make her dream of seeing them up close come true.”


Ms Pohl added that at the care home, they “don’t accept” that life for the early residents “has to be a particular way”.

“We ensure that there are no limitations to activities residents pursue and help them to lead independent, fulfilling lives, however they choose,” the home manager said.

“Each day at our care home is different and fun, but today was something extraordinary. It was a truly wonderful moment when Mavis met the penguins and certainly created a stir in the home – we’ll be talking about this for weeks.”


A new study from the University of Toronto discovered that penguin small talk follows some of the same principles as human conversation.

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