“I have always wanted to go to the Blackpool Tower and today my dream came true.”

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29th August 2018

It has become a summer tradition for our wonderful guest writer Shirley to join us for a respite holiday at Revitalise Sandpipers in Southport. With each year comes a brand new holiday blog. Read all about Shirley’s latest adventures while with us, as she explores everything from Chester Zoo to Blackpool Tower and even enjoys a visit from a pair of miniature ponies!

Written by Shirley Salzedo.


I arrived at Sandpipers to a very warm welcome. Everyone was so nice and friendly. We were greeted with homemade cakes and refreshments. I liked seeing familiar faces together with some nice new faces. I also booked some trips – Chester Zoo as I love animals – and Blackpool. Sharon, my former school friend, has also joined me on holiday once again this year. We’ve been friends for 46 years. This uniting holiday between two friends was possible by very kind courtesy of Help Musicians UK. We sat down to a lovely supper – fish and chips which were yummy. I feel very happy and contented. I slept well in a very nice room too.


I woke up to a lovely shower and healthy breakfast. Muesli, grapefruit, scrambled eggs on toast, coffee, apple juice. Then we sat out on the patio overlooking the Marina – heaven. The views from the patio are beautiful. My friend Brian and Sharon’s husband joined us for lunch. Then about 20 of us sat outside on the patio and we all chatted just like we had been friends forever. Then Sharon sang to my piano playing in front of others. It was a very happy music session, followed by a roast dinner. Then live entertainment. The best part for me was making friends, old and new.

Revitalise guest blogger Shirley with friend Brian on holiday at Revitalise Sandpipers

Tomorrow, Chester Zoo.


I’ve had a really lovely day today. We went to Chester Zoo with my friend Sharon and other nice people. I loved seeing all the animals surrounded by beautiful trees, green scenery, lovely plants and water scenes. I really enjoyed the butterfly house surrounded by beautiful, brightly coloured butterflies flying everywhere. I also loved the colourful and radiant fishes, aquariums, baby rhinos, camels, buffaloes, monkeys, birds and flamingos. Chester Zoo and its surroundings were quite breath taking. I love all animals and Chester Zoo was a real treat for me as a wheelchair user.

This life changing holiday ranks with one of the best I’ve had. Everyone is very nice, kind and friendly. I’m having a wonderful, relaxing and therapeutic time.

Shirley out on excursion to Chester Zoo while on holiday at Sandpipers Shirley out on excursion to Chester Zoo with Revitalise volunteer while on holiday at Revitalise Sandpipers


The wonderful live entertainment and care last night meant that I enjoyed a lie in today. I enjoyed a cooked breakfast followed by a lovely chat with one of the volunteers and Sharon over coffee. Then, I really enjoyed drawing a stained glass window painting to take home. After lunch, Sharon and I went to Dobbies Garden Centres where I bought some gifts and a lovely jumper in the sale, followed by fresh coffee in a china cup and saucer. Very refined! Then, once we returned to Sandpipers, Sharon sang whilst I played the piano, like old school times. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. And just for me, Eugene made a lovely tiramisu. The food and care is of an exceptionally high standard. Nothing is too much trouble for anyone.

Shirley out on excursion to Dobbies Garden Centres while on holiday at Revitalise SandpipersShirley enjoying a cup of tea while out on excursion to Dobbies Garden Centres at Revitalise Sandpipers


Sharon and I have just performed an hour’s recital for everyone at Revitalise. It was an hour’s worth of happy music making (including me getting the giggles). We played music from musical shows, me on the piano and Sharon singing angelically. I felt very overwhelmed and touched that we were performing together once again. There will never be a singing partner like Sharon. It made me feel very happy.

Shirley and friend Sharon performing for guests at Revitalise Sandpipers


I have always wanted to go to the Blackpool Tower and today my dream came true. Revitalise took me, Sharon, and volunteers Libby and Katie to see live ballroom dancing at the Blackpool Tower. They danced to a live organist and someone else played the Wurlitzer which came out of the stage. They were very fine musicians who played and improvised all afternoon. I loved the choice and variety of music from classical to Pop and Jazz. And, there were some children dancing also – very sweet! I could have sat there all day! The building was beautiful and wheelchair friendly. I loved the decor. When I next see Strictly Come Dancing perform at the Blackpool Tower, I will visualise it from a completely different artistic viewpoint. I have seen the Wurlitzer played live at the Odeon Cinema in Leicester Square, London but this was something else. The musicians were brilliant as were the beautiful dancers. Everyone was very accommodating of me and my wheelchair. I am a song and dance pianist and loved every moment of being at Blackpool Tower. Thanks to Revitalise and Help Musicians UK for this memorable trip.

Shirley out on excursion to Blackpool Tower with Revitalise volunteers while on holiday at Revitalise Sandpipers


Today is party night. After breakfast, Sharon, volunteer Heather and I went to M&S. I bought a lovely evening scarf which I am wearing with my party outfit tonight. It matches perfectly with my attire and is a lovely keepsake – a reminder of my perfect holiday. Then Sharon and I had some beauty treatments done before spending some time together at the piano where I sang and the notes were brought to life once again by Sharon’s beautiful singing voice.

Later on I sat around our supper table with my new Revitalise friends and Sharon. The volunteers have made my holiday, including Katie and Heather, and those who have helped me to write these blogs, Dillon and Hugo.

Shirley busy writing her Revitalise blog entries with the help of Revitalise volunteers
Jack has a lovely dog called Henry and we were visited this afternoon by two miniature ponies, which I loved to stroke.

Miniature ponies visiting Revitalise Sandpipers Miniature ponies visitng Revitalise Sandpipers

Now, after a hearty supper, we will enjoy the live entertainment. I have had a perfect ending to a perfect holiday.

Stephanie Stone

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