THERE was neigh doubt who the star attraction was at a Morpeth care home when one of its residents celebrated a landmark birthday.
Smurf, a mini-pony, is small enough to visit every room at East Riding and he has made a big impression with everyone since owner Lisa Walker started bringing him along to the facility on Whorral Bank.
On his latest trip, he gave a card with his hoof print on it to Joy Pratt, who had turned 90 years old.
He will also be delivering presents to the residents on Christmas Eve.
Janice Rice, activity coordinator at East Riding, said: “Everyone here absolutely loves Smurf and because he can fit into the lift, he can also see the people upstairs. He particularly gives a big boost to the residents who don’t usually come out of their room.
“Joy was thrilled that he came for her birthday celebrations and we can’t wait for him to come along on Christmas Eve.
“The family members of our residents are left gobsmacked when they see him.
“We were told that we could hire Smurf to come along to East Riding by a lady from Animal Antics Parties, who brings rabbits, guinea pigs and hedgehogs that our residents can touch. We’ve also had the Animalgique show here this year.”
Organising the animal visits is just part of what Janice does at the care home and she was recently recognised for her efforts when she won the activity coordinator category at the Great North East Care Awards.