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Event brings back residents’ heyday

Zella Kjestrup and Janice Loader at Aversham House, with Zella’s 69-year-old wedding dress. PHOTO/ALEYNA MARTINEZ

ALEYNA MARTINEZ
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Women at Aversham House on Cole St will get to relive their wedding day in an event dreamed up by cleaner Janice Loader.

The event called, A Celebration of Weddings, will be held by the aged care facility for family and friends.

Loader said women connected to the house donated about 30 dresses and she expected it was an event she would take to other rest homes across Wairarapa.

“Salvation Army, Perry’s Mart and Hospice have also loaned dresses,” Loader said.

Sharon Reilly, the support manager at Aversham House said: “We want to do something really exciting so these women could show off a bit about their heyday when they were at the top of their game, and just so everyone can remember these lovely ladies are people and still are beautiful.

“Everyone loves to get their wedding dress out.

“It’s to get all the family to come in and start rebuilding our community again.

“In covid our links with the outside world shrivelled and shrivelled and we just want to start going back out there.”

A wedding dress was something women tended not to throw away but there wasn’t often a reason to bring them out again, Loader said.

“These are heirlooms,” Reilly said.

Nurses from Aversham House, Loader’s sister and a few others will model the dresses, which include flower girls and bridesmaid dresses.

The parade will go through the rest home so people who will not come out of their room can still see what’s going on from their doorway.

Zella Kjestrup has owned her dress for 69 years and married Terence Kjestrup on May 9, 1951, at St Patrick’s Church in Napier.

“Both daughters, who got Masterton Bride of the Year and runner-up, have donated their dresses too,” Loader said.

“What we are today is what these people did for us and they deserve anything and everything we can do.

“Let’s be honest aged care is underfunded, underpaid and we just want to do that little bit more, especially now.”

This will be the first big gathering since the first covid-19 lockdown.

Residents struggled with loneliness and separation from their families, Reilly said “The hugging of the grandchildren, that all went away.”

But now they have a reason to return.

With the threat of another Level 3 or 4 Reilly said residents were “pretty upset”.

“Their families can’t come in, they’re not allowed to go out, even the hairdresser can’t come in, the podiatrist – all that stuff.

“Residents are just here.”

The event will be held on September 12 unless the Government returns the country to Level 3 or 4.

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