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94-year-old wins Yorkshire Housing talent competition

Resident Eric Robinson showed he is still note-worthy at a talent competition at a Yorkshire Housing scheme in Wakefield.


Eric, 94, won the festive contest, which was held just before Christmas at Sherwood Court, by singing Are You Lonesome Tonight and Winter Wonderland.

He previously sang in a male voice choir and also performed at his parents’ club in the Thornes area of Wakefield.

Eric, a former fish and chip shop owner and market trader, proved he has lost none of his vocal range with a pitch-perfect performance.

It saw him narrowly edge out six other acts at the Sherwood’s Got Talent event organised with help from Yorkshire Housing’s community independence and customer insight and engagement teams.


Delighted Eric won a tin of luxury biscuits and said: “I like doing things like this and so I thought I’d have a go. It was a good laugh.”


Eric served for four years as a firefighter on the railways during the Second World War.

He went on to run a chain of fish of chip shops, including the New Scarborough Fisheries in Wakefield.

Eric added of the talent competition: “I’ve always like to sing and it was great to see so many others have a go as well.”

Participants included staff and residents at the scheme, which is off Sherwood Drive in Wakefield’s Kettlethorpe area.

The finale, a version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, involved the care team, managers and residents.


They wore scary make-up and homemade zombie outfits featuring ripped shirts and Dracula-style fangs.

All the acts came together with the audience at the end to sing popular carol Silent Night and festive favourite Merry Christmas Everybody by Slade.

There were also mince pies and a donation box in aid of the city’s St Catherine’s Foodbank.

Christmas elves Georgia Irving and Charlotte Woollard, from Yorkshire Housing’s community independence team and customer insight and engagement team respectively, star in a short video here.


They helped organise the event alongside cleaner Julie Nurthen and scheme manager Sharon Fitzpatrick.


Julie joked: “We’re not shy here. We weren’t bothered if we showed ourselves up!


“And so it didn’t matter if there were gaffes. It all added to the fun because that’s what we were doing it for.”


Eric, a father of two who has six grandchildren and a seventh due in February, moved into Sherwood Court in August 2018 with 92-year-old wife Joyce.

It is an extra care scheme that helps older people who need support maintain their independence.

The facility boasts 45 self-contained flats backed by on-site assistance and medical care round the clock.

This is perfect for Eric and Joyce as their former bungalow in Wrenthorpe was destroyed by fire.


Eric said: “The insurance company built it back up. But I don’t want to go back – I like it here.

“Here, you’re looked after and you’ve got everything if something happens.

“We’ve got two lovely big bedrooms, a shower and a balcony where we can sit out in the summer.


“And there’s always something going on. Old people like to be entertained and there’s plenty of activities for us to enjoy.”