PENSIONERS enjoyed a rather literal trip down memory lane when their care home took them sightseeing to places from their past.

Ridgeway Rise had to cancel all of its regular off-site trips because of the pandemic so for many months, the people who live there could venture out no further than the back garden for safety reasons.

The care home has managed to stay Covid-free for six months running and not had a single case of the dangerous disease.

After the sixth month passed without incident, the staff quickly got to work arranging a big day out, reassured that it was now safe enough to do so,

They asked the residents where they would like to go and learned about their parts of Swindon that meant a lot to them - their former homes, schools, workplaces and favourite old haunts.

They prepared the route and displayed an old map of Swindon with pictures of old buildings.

Excitement built in the days leading up to the trip. One resident called Val quipped "Let’s see if my house aged as well as I did" while another recalled planting a tree years ago and wanted to see how it had grown.

After driving in a minibus through the town centre, Chiseldon and Purton, the pensioners got a glimpse through their windows of Swindon's future as they saw the new Tadpole Garden Village.

Some of the people living in the home have dementia and this scenic drive jogged their memories and helped them reminisce.

The trip was arranged to mark National Alzheimer's Day and the staff hope it will become a regular weekly event.

Marketing manager Kinga Dabrowska said: "We have Swindon born-and-bred residents but also a few who left the town for many years and returned later.

"We organised a trip down a memory lane, reminiscing about old times and old buildings and comparing how Swindon has changed over the years.

"Residents understood that safety precautions meant we could not stop anywhere, but commented that the world outside, especially in the countryside, looked so serene and normal.

"They said it was hard to believe there is a virus out there paralysing our lives.

"When they were in the town centre, they noticed lots of people in masks, much less traffic and many Covid signs and posters which made them a bit sad.

"They recalled the many limitations and restrictions they experienced during the war, that's what it reminded them of. Overall, they were very grateful for the trip."