A very special 81st birthday surprise brought tears of delight to the eyes of Sylvia Butcher, a resident at a dementia care home in Wellington, with a personalised birthday message from her long-time hero, singer Daniel O’Donnell.

Sylvia’s son, Stephen Butcher, told staff at Camelot House and Lodge how much his mum has always admired the Irish gospel singer, and that she has attended many of his concerts and even met him back-stage after one of the shows.

Richard Dempslake, activities coordinator for Camelot Care, said: “It was Sylvia’s first birthday since she had moved in with us, and we wanted to make it really special.

“Sylvia is always mentioning her love of Daniel O’Donnell, so we knew she’d be thrilled if she got a special birthday greeting from him.

“I was so chuffed when we got a positive response back from Daniel. He replied almost at once and sent the loveliest message for her.

“Sylvia got quite emotional and thanked everyone who helped make the video clip happen.

“It’s so rewarding when we know we’ve made such a strong connection with any of our residents, and correctly judged what will help to make their lives happier and more fulfilled. This was an absolute classic.”

Richard Dempslake was also keen to emphasise the important role of music in the lives of people living with dementia, and said that his activities team spend a lot of time developing play-lists for residents to enjoy both individually and to listen to and engage with as a group.

Camelot House and Lodge is run by award-winning dementia care provider Camelot Care, which also has homes in Bridgwater and Plymouth.