Care home resident, 98, close to completing 100-day piano challenge

Rebecca Parker has played the piano every day for nearly 100 days, despite living with arthritis.

A 98-year old resident of a Lanarkshire care home has almost completed a 100-day piano challenge to raise money for charity.

Despite living with arthritis, Mrs Rebecca Parker has been playing the piano every day since April.

With her music and her determination, she has been able to lift the spirits of staff and fellow residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mrs Parker, a retired teacher originally from Skye, has played Scottish music on the Baby Grand piano of McClymont House, run by South Lanarkshire Council, in Lanark.

Heather Knox, interim chief executive of NHS Lanarkshire said: “Mrs Parker has not only raised a substantial sum of money for NHS Lanarkshire endowment fund – which we are very grateful for – but many smiles in her care home and, indeed, across the globe.

“Her thoughtfulness has been the personification of community spirit.”

A video of Rebecca playing Loch Lomond has reached over 50,000 people online, including a global audience of viewers and well-wishers from afar as India, Abu Dhabi and Australia.

Mrs Parker, who raised her family in nearby Carluke after completing teacher training in Edinburgh in the 1940s, has been able to raise over £5000 so far for NHS Lanarkshire endowment fund on her JustGiving page

Speaking on National Care home day, two days out of completing her challenge, Mrs Parker said: “I would like to offer a note of thanks to each and every one of my lovely followers, on JustGiving, social media and, of course, the staff and fellow residents of McClymont House.

“I’ve been overwhelmed to be able raise such a generous amount of money. It’s been incredible.”

Previously, Mrs Parker explained how her twinkle-keyed tour de force has roots in a lifelong passion.

“My mother, Isabella MacLennan, was an accomplished pianist and that’s who really inspired all of this.

“Ultimately she had to give it up because of the demands of family life but I have vivid memories of her playing from early childhood.

Mrs Parker added: “I was captivated when I was growing up and my mother taught me how to play.

“Today, I hope the music can have the same comforting effect on my friends here.”

Val de Souza, chief officer, South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership, added: “Despite the ongoing challenges Covid-19 presents, Mrs Parker’s piano challenge represents the vibrancy, hope and community-spirit that prevails in our care homes.

“Mrs Parker’s stoicism and kindness is a source of inspiration for us all.”