Games remind Irene of her father’s medal

Irene East, one of the residents at Risby Hall nursing home, with a photo of the medals her dad Alfred Pinner won at the 1920 Olympics at Antwerp.

Irene East, one of the residents at Risby Hall nursing home, with a photo of the medals her dad Alfred Pinner won at the 1920 Olympics at Antwerp.

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IRENE East surprised everyone at Risby Hall Nursing Home when she revealed her dad was an Olympic medallist.

But manager Tania Sibbald looked up Irene’s father Alfred Pinner and found he won a gymnastics silver in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics.

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Irene’s announcement was sparked, not just by the London Olympics but by Risby Hall’s group of homes holding The Partnership in Care 2012 Inter-Home ‘Olympics’ with such sports as welly throwing, hook a duck and beanbag archery.

Irene was only two when her father, from Ipswich, won the medal, so, at 94, she has only vague memories of being told about it but he encouraged her in sports.

“I was a good swimmer and I played tennis,” she said. “I was quite good at tennis.

“I used to swim around Felixstowe pier and my father walked round the top, so if anything went wrong he could jump in and save me.”

She followed the 2012 Olympics on television.

“It was much more interesting than most things on television,” she said. “I like watching sport because people are doing their best. I thought ‘if only my dad was here’.”

This year another UK gymnast won silver: Louis Smith on the pommel horse. “I was very pleased with that,” Irene said

The inter-home games were born when the group asked residents, families and staff how they would like to mark London 2012.

An ‘Olympics’ committee was formed with each home electing representatives.

Not to be outdone by London 2012, there was a torch relay between the six homes, by vintage car and limousine and an official opening ceremony held at Prince of Wales House in Ipswich on August 5. There were two weeks of games which saw residents travelling from home to home to compete.

The main aim of the competition was to have fun, bring residents from different Homes together and to raise money for each home’s selected charity.

The official closing ceremony was held at Risby on Sunday where the winners were revealed and trophies and charitable donations awarded. Each home chose a charity to benefit if it was in the medals with £200 going to the top of the medals chart, which was Sherington House, Ipswich.

Clinical director Rachel Fitton said: “The games have showcased the fantastic skills that exist both amongst our resident’s and staff, showing how life within long term care is both enriching and most importantly fun.”