Ken Dodd is tickled to open care facility

Ken Dodd shared his happiness with friends
old and new as he officially opened the £1.6 million extension of
Majesticare’s care facility for dementia sufferers.

The veteran funnyman travelled – complete with trademark tickling sticks – from Knotty Ash to Lawton Rise Specialist Care Centre in Goldenhill to mark the opening.

The
comedian is an old friend of retired former GP Dr Raj Pratap, whose son
Roger is chairman of Majesticare. The pair first met in 1982 when Ken
appeared at a charity fund-raiser at Kidsgrove Town Hall which then –
rotary club president Dr Pratap organised with fellow members.

The
main part of Ken’s speech consisted of good-natured observations and
jokes on the effects of getting old. But he – almost – got serious to
stress the importance of vulnerable people feeling safe and loved and
the importance of having facilities such as those at Lawton Rise.

The
comic told The Sentinel: “It is a wonderful place. It’s like a
seven-star hotel and everything is lovely, comfortable and luxurious.
The carers are all very cuddly and there is a lot of love around, so
that is a good thing.”

During his introductory speech, Mr Pratap
described how care at the flagship Lawton Rise had been described as
being “almost exceptional” by experts and the authorities, and it is
ranked in the top six per cent of care homes in the UK.

He added that the centre of excellence has a string of features,
based on the latest thinking on dementia, which are designed to
sensitively create a community for sufferers.

As well as pictures
and items from bygone years, there is a pub, potter’s wheel, indoor
garden and hair salon on site, so residents can continue to have normal
lives in a safe environment.

Manager Sally Latham said: “We want
to concentrate on what people can still do rather than what they can’t,
and encourage independence.”

Lord Mayor Councillor Derek Capey
said Majesticare had done a wonderful job with the extension, which will
increase overall capacity across the site to 62 rooms.

He said: “If I ever needed facilities like this, I wouldn’t hesitate in coming here.”

15th January 2009