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Ballet school founder says ‘good posture’ is secret to living to 102

A Southmead care home resident, and ballet school founder, has celebrated her 102nd birthday and revealed her secret to living a long and joyful life is to ‘maintain good posture’ and ‘do the job you love’.

Joyce Harper, from Care UK’s Trymview Hall, on Southmead Road, marked the impressive milestone on 15th May with a special visit from pupils from her former dancing school, Henleaze School of Dancing, which Joyce founded in 1946 and worked at for over 72 years – not retiring until the age of 97.

The special day began with a pampering session in the home’s salon and a coffee morning in the garden with friends at the home.

After a relaxing morning, Joyce was welcomed by friends and family to a surprise birthday party. With musical entertainment, a host of special gifts and outdoor games , the team went above and beyond to ensure Joyce enjoyed a celebration fit for a queen, presenting her with a flower crown to wear in the morning and a tiara in the afternoon. To top things off, she was treated to a delicious homemade birthday cake.

As an extra special surprise to celebrate Joyce’s milestone, team members organised for pupils from the dance school, to put on a ballet show for their beloved ex-teacher.

Joyce, resident at Trymview Hall, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the performance – it was beautiful. I hadn’t seen them in so long and it was such a wonderful surprise. My favourite part of the day was the moment I stepped outside and saw all the children.”

Nicole Anderson, Home Manager at Trymview Hall, said: “Everyone had a wonderful time celebrating Joyce’s birthday, and she was particularly delighted with the surprise visit from her dance school.

“Joyce has been living at Trymview Hall for three months, and it’s fair to say the home wouldn’t be the same without her. Her wonderful dedication to her love for all things music and dance – retiring at 97 – never fails to amaze us!

“Here at Trymview Hall, we always strive to make an occasion of birthdays, and Joyce’s 102nd was no exception. We had great fun pampering her and organising her surprise party and visit.”

Joyce was born in Clifton, Bristol, in 1920 and has lived in Bristol her whole life. Working in the civil service as part of the Telephone Management Office during the war, Joyce soon found her true calling lay elsewhere.

Attending her first dance class when she was just five years old, she was inspired to become a ballet teacher. Training as a dance teacher at the Maddocks School of Dancing, Joyce pursued her dream of becoming a teacher and in 1946 she founded Henleaze School of Dancing. Not wanting to give it up, she went on to teach at the school for over 72 years – not retiring until she was 97 years old.

A true inspiration, Joyce has touched many lives with her dedication to dance over so many decades, teaching generations of aspiring ballerinas. Her hard work saw her announced as a winner of a Bristol Gold Award and an MBE for services to dance in 2011, presented to her by Princess Anne.

Trymview Hall provides full-time residential and dementia care, with 66 ensuite bedrooms, and has been designed to enable residents to live active and fulfilled lives, while also promoting independence. The care home will incorporate space for hobby and leisure activities and will include its own cinema, hairdressing salon and café.

To find out more about Trymview Hall, contact Customer Relations Manager, Nicola Wolff-Donitz, on nicola.wolff-donitz@careuk.com, call 0333 321 8351 or visit careuk.com/trymview-hall.

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