MEDIA RELEASE Thursday April 1, 2021 (for International Children’s Book Day on Friday April 2, 2021)


An Arbroath care home resident shares her favourite stories for International Children’s Book Day

On International Children’s Book Day, an Arbroath care home resident has proved that you’re never too old to find the joy in children’s books.

When asked what her favourite children’s book was, Gail MacFarlane, 78, a resident at Balhousie Monkbarns care home, recalled A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. She has many happy memories of reading the book of poems to her three children when they were little.

To mark International Children’s Book Day, staff from the home tracked down a copy of the book and Gail was more than happy to read one of her favourite poems to the team. Here is Gail reciting ‘My Shadow’:

To celebrate how children’s books are truly intergenerational, Balhousie Monkbarns have sent Gail’s video to the local primary schools in Arbroath so that the pupils can hear Gail’s recital and share in her joy of the book. The care home hopes that the children will enjoy the poems as much as Gail has.

Sarah Jane Patterson, Home Manager at Balhousie Monkbarns care home, said:

“Books have provided comfort to so many people over the past year and it’s been wonderful to see them celebrated for International Children’s Book Day. It’s lovely to see children’s books transcending the generations and I hope many children will get the chance to see Gail’s beautiful reading of one her favourite poems. Balhousie’s homes have always had strong community connections and at Monkbarns we look forward to building on those even more as lockdown eases. The fact that Gail used to work at the home makes this story even more special”

Originally from Aberfeldy in Perthshire, Gail moved to Arbroath with her husband, who worked in the Police, to raise her children. She actually worked at Monkbarns over twenty years ago as a carer and enjoys keeping the staff on their toes offering advice and wisdom on their daily tasks. On recalling her favourite children’s books, Gail said:

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reminiscing about the books I read to my own children. I hope other children now discover and enjoy my favourite stories and poems through International Children’s Book Day.”

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About Balhousie Care Group

Balhousie Care Group was formed 30 years ago to fill a gap in quality residential care in North East Scotland. Today, with 26 homes in the area, it is one of the leading providers of care for the elderly in Scotland, providing care to over 900 residents.

Balhousie Care prides itself on its person-centred approach to care. Putting people right at the forefront of everything they do; it’s inclusive of everyone. They capture this philosophy through the roll out of ‘Together We’re Great’, an initiative which recognises the skills, talents, attributes and support areas for each and every person involved in the organisation. Together We’re Great aims to value individuality and promote excellence across the organisation.

A Participation Charter – a first-of-its-kind in the care home sector – commits to residents getting a bigger say than ever in the care they receive, from writing care home policies to recruiting staff.

Balhousie Care Group is the recipient of numerous awards. These include three Scottish Care Awards, 2019 Growth Business and 2018 Service Business of the Year at The Courier Business Awards, 2019 Growth Business of the Year Perthshire Chamber of Commerce STAR Award, and SME Scotland Business Man of the Year 2019 for Chairman Tony Banks.