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Order of Malta Entertain the Disabled and Elderly

Laughter, music, dancing and fun are not always the words one associates with the handicapped and elderly ““ not to mention addiction treatment. Aren’t these supposed to be grim and serious issues?

Castle Craig turned these stereotypes on their head on Saturday 30th June when they arranged a big party for disabled people from all over Central Scotland. Dozens of people were bussed in for a day of music, feasting, dancing, horse riding and talk.

The event took place in a big marquee that has been set up on the front lawn at Castle Craig Hospital, and it takes place this time every year at Scotland’s leading rehab clinic. The event was organised under the auspices of the Order of Malta, a charity that dates back to the days of the crusades when they provided medical services to pilgrims to the Holy Land.

Peter McCann, chairman of Castle Craig Hospital and member of the Order of Malta, has organised this “Hospitaller Day” for many years now. The event takes advantage of the fact that a big marquee is installed on the main lawn for the annual reunion, when former patients of Castle Craig come back to share their stories of recovery, to provide entertainment for the disabled and elderly too.

The day kicked off when disabled and elderly people arrived by bus. They were shown into the big marquee where a drum circle was organised (this involved about 20 people playing on drums). Next up was a pipe band that marched round the marquee. A buffet lunch was then served by the Castle Craig staff and this was followed by a karaoke session. There was a lot of dancing, singing and laughter.

Meanwhile, the sound of gunfire could be heard as the guests were offered the chance to fire a shotgun at clay pigeons, a sound that didn’t seem to bother the children or ponies who were walking calmly around the lower lawn.

Almost all the guests had huge smiles on their faces and I spoke to some of them. All were delighted at this chance to get out, meet people and enjoy some great entertainment in a beautiful countryside location. This feeling was summed up by Margaret Miller who said “today was one big day out for us. We thoroughly enjoyed it.”