When care home resident, David Osbourne looks at the model tram by his bedside, he swears he can smell oranges.
The wooden model is a replica of Majorca’s Soller Tram, which runs from Soller to the Port of Soller and is part of the world famous ‘Orange Express’.
David knows the tram well from the holidays he used to spend on the Spanish island with his wife and family.
“We holidayed in Majorca many times and we would get the train from Palma across the mountains and then transfer onto the tram at Soller.
“We loved going on it and in the autumn the smell of the orange groves is unbelievable.”
David has been a keen model maker since he was a young boy and building the wooden tram has been a two year labour of love for the former postman.
Now settled in St Monica Trust’s Charterhouse care home, David battled against the debilitating effects of his Parkinson’s disease and losing parts of the model kit while moving between a number of different care homes.
“I thought I was going to have to write to the company for replacement parts, but my daughter bought me a brand new kit, which I salvaged the parts I needed from.
“You can get some amazing results with these wooden kits and over the years, I’ve made many different trams, boats and steam engines.”
When the Trust’s therapy team heard about David’s tram build, Occupation Therapy and Physiotherapy Assistant, Sue Griffiths was the perfect choice to help him complete his model.
Sue (pictured above with David) said: “My dad was a naval architect and built wooden models all his life. As kids we were always surrounded by canoes, boats, rocking horses and dolls houses at various stages of being built, so I thought I was a good fit for what David needed.
“We had a long chat before we started to see how David wanted to go about completing his model. He led with all the decision making and we were quickly able to establish what he could do himself and which parts of the build he needed help with.”
Every St Monica Trust care home has a dedicated therapy team on-site who provide a range of advice, support and treatments to help residents remain as active, stimulated and socially engaged as possible.
Occupational Therapist, Jenna Haskins (pictured below with David) explained how the team works: “As with many of the different ways we work with our residents, David’s model-making extended far beyond his sessions with Sue.
“In planning ahead and thinking about what he would like to achieve, he was able to stretch himself cognitively throughout the week.
"As well as the pride David feels in achieving his goal, building the tram was also a real conversation piece for his visitors and carers.”
The Soller Tram now has pride of place in David’s room at Charterhouse, but his model making days are far from over.
David said: “I couldn’t have done it without the help of Sue - she was brilliant. What I’d really like is if someone made a model kit of the Horse Tram at Aerospace Bristol.
“That would be a nice project and I hope Sue can help me with it.”
The Trust’s physiotherapy and occupational therapy service is available free to all our care home residents. Find out more about the Trust’s therapy team by downloading a copy of their brochure or calling the Admissions Team on 0800 952 0300.