AN Okehampton family entertainer is celebrating being awarded a grant of £500 by the town council to brighten up the lives of elderly people in the community with flowers and a song, writes Sarah Pitt.

Rob Pudner, who runs Entertainingly Different, was granted the money by the town council’s policy and resources committee on Monday last week (August 10).

Councillors Jan Goffey and Debra Travers urged their fellow councillors to support Rob’s idea, which they said they would as long as he visited old folks living in Kent House and Castle Ham Lodge in the town as well.

Cllr Goffey said that Rob had done sterling work entertaining families online during the lockdown and it would be good for the town council to support him.

‘I think we should bear in mind that he has been doing free shows in his back garden throughout this,’ she said.

‘If we regard it as a donation towards entertaining elderly and isolated people then we can do this.’

Rob said he was delighted to receive the grant to continue his good work in person with the older generation. The money will pay for his time and enable him to buy flowers for those he visits.

‘I did my shows for families every Saturday morning during the lockdown on Facebook for 11 weeks and that went really well,’ he said.

‘It got me thinking that actually the elderly people might not get the opportunity to access my stuff online. The plan is that I will go by nomination to each elderly person’s home, sing them a song or two in their garden and give them a bunch of flowers. The town council said that with giving me this grant they would also like me to visit Castle Ham Lodge and Kent House, and entertain everyone there, so I will be making arrangements to do that.

‘They can come out in the garden, or I can sing to them through the window, so that of course it is socially distanced.

‘I generally pitch what I do at a family audience, so I will be singing things like Bring Me Sunshine, The Sun Has Got His Hat On, When You’re Smiling, those sort of songs.’

He added: ‘I was really chuffed my grant application was looked on favourably by the parish council. What the money is going to allow me to do is two afternoons of visits so I think I should be able to visit as many as 40 households.

‘When I have done something like the carnival — where I do the master of ceremonies — a lot of people seem to be amused by my antics. And I’ll visit people who have been nominated by their friends and family, so hopefully they will already welcome the idea of a visit from me!’

Beverley Halley of Halley’s Flowers, based near Okehampton is providing him with flowers for his bouquets and he will be travelling around by bicycle with a trailer supplied by Devon Cycle Hire of Sourton. He has also had support from Donald’s Menswear in Okehampton, who provided the shirt, braces and bow tie. To nominate an elderly family member or friend,who must live in the town of Okehampton, email [email protected] (no hyphen in address) or send him a message via his Entertainingly Different Facebook page. Closing date for nominations is September 4.