By: Mike Anderson
In a touching gesture of support, Alan Stewart played a medley of upbeat Scottish favourites on his bagpipes this Saturday, as staff and residents watched from the windows of River Glen Haven Nursing Home, battling a COVID-19 outbreak that has so far caused eight deaths.
“I can’t imagine how hard it is inside that building for everybody. I’m going to do anything I can do to help lift people’s spirits,” said Mr. Stewart, a resident of Keswick, who’s been playing in front of the homes of front-line workers and those quarantined throughout the community.
According to Mr. Stewart, you don’t have to have a Scottish background to appreciate the bagpipes, and judging by the smiles and waves from residents and staff, he was right.
“It’s loud. It’s noticeable. It usually stirs some emotion in people. And I think it tends to lift people’s spirits. They get a little bit excited for something different in their daily routine.”
Mr. Stewart was joined by a group of family members and friends who wanted everyone inside the home to know that they are not alone in their struggle.
Maureen McDermott, who’s mother Elsie, 92, tested positive for the virus on Mother’s Day, organized the event to give her mother, as well as the staff and other residents, something to look forward to and to pay tribute to those residents who have lost their lives to the virus.
“I just wanted to honour those lives that have been lost here at River Glen,” Ms. McDermott said.
“Honour the lives of every single resident and staff that’s in there working towards this fight. And to encourage them, give them something uplifting and to keep the fight going.”
John Hart, a longtime resident of Jackson’s Point, who’s know Ms. McDermott and her family for more than 20 years, was also there to show his support.
“We want to thank the staff going through this grind. It’s a hell of a thing they’re doing,” he said. “As for the residents, I wish them luck.”
York Region Public Health reported two more deaths at RGH on May 16.
“Today, we are sadly reporting two deaths related to COVID-19 in the Town of Georgina. We offer our heartfelt condolences and send our love to their families and friends,” said Patrick Casey, a spokesperson for public health, in an email to The Post.
To date, 62 residents and 24 staff have tested positive for the virus at RGH, and COVID-19 infections have caused eight deaths, as of May 16, 5 p.m..