Spitfires and Oatcakes returns with a song and more goose grease!
A popular community event for older people is returning to Stoke-on-Trent. ‘Spitfires and Oatcakes’ will be landing again in Longton on June 30th after receiving a small grant as part of the Mayors Community Weekend celebrations, with confirmed guests including reminiscing expert, Kath Reynolds, plus music from singer-songwriter, Chloe Knibbs.
Organised by the Vintage Volunteers project team, the first Spitfires and Oatcakes events took place in March and April, with the aim of bringing people together and sharing memories of wartime Staffordshire. Guest speakers encouraged everyone to share family stories and an oatcake lunch was provided to keep everyone’s strength up! Attendees were also given the chance to shape this year’s Remembrance activities, with Keele University students recording their ideas and listening to their stories. ‘There was a great response to Spitfires and Oatcakes,’ says Vintage Volunteers Project Manager, Kelly Smith, ‘and we were able to secure more funding, so we thought we’d do it all again one last time!’
Kath Reynolds was one of the big hits during the first run of Spitfire events. She’ll be returning again with Goose Grease and Brown Paper – a light-hearted talk on the surprising home remedies used in the days before the NHS. ‘Kath is an absolute legend,’ says Kelly Smith. ‘Everyone thoroughly enjoyed her talk last time and we’re so glad to have her back.’
Singer songwriter Chloe Kibbs will be joining Kath on the day with her own unique brand of music and song. Chloe’s work as a community musician takes her to hospitals, care homes and schools, and she’s even performed at train stations and shopping centres. ‘A lot of my work in hospitals has been for older patients,’ says Birmingham-based Chloe, ‘so I like to find music people can relate to, like folk music, songs from musicals and old jazz standards.’ For the Spitfire event, though, she’s planning a special workshop: ‘There’ll be an opportunity for everyone to write the lyrics for a song that we’ll then record. The workshop will involve activities to get people talking and coming up with phrases, which we’ll then put together as a group.’
The event at Longton Community Church promises to be fun and interesting for all, but there’s also a serious side to Spitfires and Oatcakes. ‘We want everyone to have a great time,’ says Kelly, ‘but our events have been designed to try and tackle the growing problem of loneliness in the over 60s. Loneliness is not good for you! It’s thought that it can increase your risk of premature death by 30%, and the chances of developing dementia by 64%. We think that bringing people together, to chat and share memories, is a great way to try to do something about it.’
Chloe agrees with Kelly about loneliness and thinks music can also help: ‘Music is a wonderful way to bring all types of people together, because everyone can get involved in their own way. Songs and pieces of music can also remind us of particular memories, which encourage us to share our stories and connect, which is particularly meaningful if you have lots of wonderful stories to share!’
Alongside Kath and Chloe, there’ll be bingo, a raffle and a tasty oatcake lunch for everyone attending. The free event starts at 10am, but space is limited so book you place as soon as possible. To book your place, visit www.vintagevolunteers.org.uk/spitfiresandoatcakes or call the Vintage Volunteers Team on 01782 683030.