107 year old Leicester care home resident enjoys the sound of bagpipes playing once more

12 June 2019

A 107 year old Leicester care home resident had her dream come true this week when she heard the sound of bagpipes playing once more.

Edith Varley, who is a resident at RMBI Home Devonshire Court, in Oadby, originally hails from Scotland. She told staff that more than anything else she yearned to hear the bagpipes, so they arranged for a piper to come to the Home and give a performance in her room.

Piper Nick Tysoe, who is part of The Northampton Pipe Band, played a variety of songs for Edith, including ‘Scotland the Brave’, ‘The Lament of Hector the Hero’ and ‘The Battle of Waterloo’. A silent tear slid down Edith’s cheek as she listened.

Edith was born in Helensborough, Argyleshire in Scotland on 6th December 1911, long before the First World War had even begun. It was a year which saw the launch of RMS Titanic and the coronation of King George V.

During the Second World War, Edith was in the Wrens (The Women’s Royal Naval Service) which was the women’s branch of the Royal Navy. She married her late husband in 1938 in Glasgow and they had two children, Graeme and Jennifer. The family moved to Leicester in the 1960s.

The sound of the bagpipes have been the sound track to Edith’s life. She says: “I can’t remember when I first heard the sound of the bagpipes, but they were always around and even now I can still hear them playing in my mind.”

Edith, who was with her daughter Jennifer for the very special performance at the Home, exclaimed afterwards: "Wonderful, just wonderful! I heard him playing the bagpipes all the way down the corridor until he arrived at my door."

Claire Barrett, Activities Coordinator at RMBI Home Devonshire Court, was part of the team which organised the piper’s visit as part of RMBI Care Co.’s Dreams Come True initiative. She said: "It was very moving to see Edith’s response when the pipes began. It’s fair to say that it was an emotional moment for all of us. We firmly believe in doing everything we can to try and fulfil our residents’ wishes and ambitions. This meant so much to Edith and we were just thrilled that we could make it happen.”