Members Articles – Hamilton: The Grange High Tea


On the 19th June 2014 Grange Residential Care held a Queens Birthday High Tea for the residents. We are a High care facility being part of Western District Health Services in Hamilton, Western Victoria. Around 28 residents joined us for the afternoon.

Preparations started weeks before with the community helping out in different ways. The local Dramus Company in Hamilton provided costumes for the Queen to wear and one of the local junior schools were invited to draw castles and these were the decorations that were placed around the room. There were many varieties of castles and this provided much interest amongst the residents. This also provided the back drop for our High Tea.

The day arrived with the activities room being turned into a beautiful room with golden balloons hanging from the ceiling and the tables being decorated with gold tinsel and red and white serviettes in the English theme. The last of the red roses were selected out of the garden and these were placed in the centre of the tables to finish the tables off.
Staff were involved as our Ward Clerk became the official photographer complete with a press pass slipping through the room taking many pictures of the event. Nurses also joined in on the fun staying to enjoy the event that was unfolding.

Residents dressed up in their finery and jewellery and excitedly came to the activity room where they were seated by two volunteers wearing black maid costumes complete with white paper doilies in their hair. Two residents became the Queen Mother and the Queen Royal complete with scarf over the hair. Many interesting hats were worn and new outfits were worn and all of the residents looked wonderful.

Finally with everyone seated ‘God Save the Queen’ was played over the intercom system and our Queen aka Gail (one of our volunteers) sashayed into the room complete with crown, moving through the room talking to the residents. Bows and curtsies were attempted as Queen Gail came into the room. There was so much laughter and chatter in the room with Queen Gail delighting her subjects with many witty anecdotes and sayings. Conversation was bantered between the residents and Queen Gail with the replies on both sides providing much enjoyment as residents embraced the High Tea performance.

A throne was placed in the activity room with a Scottish blanket and gold cover to make the throne complete. Queen Gail sat here and oversaw the proceedings.

High tea was served complete with china teapots and tea leaves, lemon slices, creamers and jugs for the majority of the facility. Ribbon sandwiches, meringues, scones with jam and cream, finishing with jelly cakes were served around the room with resident’s appetite increasing with every round of the maids. There were so many choices that many residents just had a piece of everything and seconds on the most enjoyed food.

Some residents that do not attend many activities came into the Activities room just to see the Queen and this was wonderful to see as their faces lit up with their chance to have a picture with Queen Gail as well as eat some of the wonderful food that was to offer.

Many of the residents needs were met this day as there was meaningful conversation, increased appetite, sensory stimulation, social interaction, as well as a lot of fun and enjoyment.

Residents were still talking about the day that evening and the days that followed. Many photos were taken with some residents lining up to have their picture taken with Queen Gail.

This was a wonderful enjoyable activity, one that we hope to repeat next year on the Queen’s Birthday month.

Submitted by Carol Holmes

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