Dream come true for elderly resident amid surprise visit from friendly penguins

An 85-year-old woman mentioned to her carers that her greatest wish was to see penguins, who immediately sought to make it happen.


An elderly resident was surprised by some unexpected visitors to her care home – two adorable penguins.

Eighty-five-year-old Mavis Ede, who lives at Care UK’s Highmarket House in Banbury, mentioned to her carers that her greatest wish was to see penguins. They immediately sought to make it happen.

She was amazed to see the pair, Pringle and Charlie, waddle right into her living room


The residents were able to interact fully with the penguins, who are hand-reared and used to human contact. Mavis was able to stroke Charlie and even hold him in her lap.

Their visit was part of the home’s Wishing Tree Initiative, which encourages residents to put wishes forward, to reconnect with a past hobby or try something completely new.

From flying on a plane, to enjoying a favourite dinner, no wish is too big or small – even a visit from two penguins.

Mavis Ede, 85, had always wanted to see penguins and was delighted when two turned up at her care home (Matthew Power Photography)

Jo Pohl, home manager at Highmarket House, said: “At our care home with a difference we always like to go the extra mile for residents, and make their wishes come true, no matter how unusual.

“Mavis has always talked about penguins with passion, so we were really excited to be able to make her dream of seeing them up close come true.

“Each day at our care home is different and fun, but today was something extraordinary.

“It was a truly wonderful moment when Mavis met the penguins and certainly created a stir in the home – we’ll be talking about this for weeks.”

Residents and Staff at The Care UK home Highmarket House in Banbury with the visiting Humbolt Penguins Charlie and Pringle from Amazing Animals in Haythorp February 4 2020. Credit: Matthew Power Photography.
Residents were able to fully interact with the friendly penguins (Matthew Power Photography)

Pringle and Charlie were brought to the home by Amazing Animals. They live in a specially constructed enclosure at Heythrop Zoological Gardens, which includes a swimming pool, pebbled beach and penguin house.

They are originally from South America, so are used to warm weather and can adjust to different environments.

The penguins regularly meet new people and attend educational workshops, so are friendly and completely comfortable around humans.