A young volunteer has inspired a 90-year-old who lost her sight five years ago to return to playing the piano after an almost 80 year break in playing.

The break has been no barrier to the care home resident, Sybil Pither, rediscovering her love of playing the piano, thanks to the support of a teenage volunteer. 

Sybil moved into Kenyon Lodge, a 60-bed residential and nursing care home on Manchester Road, in January of this year.

It was the same time that Aaliyah Wood-Spary from Little Hulton also joined the home as a volunteer as part of her social care level 3 course at Worsley College. 

A keen pianist, Aaliyah, spends time at the care home playing songs for the residents and her talent struck a chord with Sybil.

 Sybil said: “I was just 13 years old when I last played the piano.

“Aaliyah is marvellous – I enjoy listening to the different songs and just wish I could play like that again.”

The Bolton News: Sybil Pither at the pianoSybil Pither at the piano (Image: Kenyon Lodge Care Home)Inspired by the music and having played the piano at her home as a young girl, Sybil decided to try her hand at a few notes with guidance from Aaliyah.

Sybil said: “I can’t play much, but I enjoy what I can play. Not many people want to  learn new things at this age, but I love trying to play again.

“I can’t see the music sheets, but I go off the sounds, if it sounds right, I carry on playing it!”

Read more of our top stories here:

Home manager Shaun Morrissy said: “Since discovering that Sybil used to play the piano as a girl, we’ve loved seeing her sitting back in front of it.

“It is fantastic that we have a volunteer who is happy to spend time with Sybil playing the piano. She has a smile on her face from the minute she starts, to the moment she stops.”

Aaliyah added: “I started playing the piano when my nana lived with us, and she loved listening to the music. 

“It’s so nice to see Sybil playing again – I have had experience looking after older people and I can definitely see myself having a career caring for people.

The Bolton News: Sybil Pither and Aaliyah Wood-Spary at the pianoSybil Pither and Aaliyah Wood-Spary at the piano (Image: Kenyon Lodge Care Home)“What’s more, my grandpa lives at Kenyon Lodge, so it’s been lovely being able to spend more time with him.”

Alongside playing the piano, Aaliyah also spends one-to-one time with residents, painting their nails, playing cards, running bingo sessions and helping them with gardening.

Kenyon Lodge care home is managed by the Abbey Healthcare group and is a 60-bed care home located in Little Hulton. The home offers residential and nursing care with a ‘Good’ rating from CQC. 

If you have a story or something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at chloe.wilson@newsquest.co.uk or DM me on X @chloewjourno.