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Orphaned deer proves to be big hit with care home residents

PUBLISHED: 15:14 25 October 2018 | UPDATED: 17:07 25 October 2018

Orphan deer John proved a big hit with residents on his visit to a care home in Norfolk. Picture: Culrose Residential Carehome

Orphan deer John proved a big hit with residents on his visit to a care home in Norfolk. Picture: Culrose Residential Carehome

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Nature came to a nursing home when residents got an unusual four-legged visitor offering the chance to meet an orphaned deer up close.

Fallow deer John, who was rescued after his mother was hit by a car, has been hand reared in South Norfolk. Picture: Culrose Residential CarehomeFallow deer John, who was rescued after his mother was hit by a car, has been hand reared in South Norfolk. Picture: Culrose Residential Carehome

Fallow deer John, who was rescued after his mother was hit by a car while still pregnant and has been hand reared in South Norfolk, was welcomed by residents on his unusual visit to Culrose Residential Carehome in Dickleburgh.

The fawn has been living with conservationist Ben Potterton, who runs Shorelands Wildlife Gardens, as well as the Earsham Wetland Centre near Bungay.

Orphan deer John enjoys being fed slices of orange during his visit to a care home in Dickleburgh. Picture: Culrose Residential CarehomeOrphan deer John enjoys being fed slices of orange during his visit to a care home in Dickleburgh. Picture: Culrose Residential Carehome

Mr Potterton said: “This particular baby deer is an orphan and he will eventually join the herd at Earsham and whilst he is naturally tame we want him to meet as many different people as possible.

“A lot of the care home’s residents can’t come to us, so this was a nice thing to do. It is rewarding for us and our staff and volunteers as it is for the animal and the people.

Ben Potterton of Earsham Wetland Centre with John the deer at the Dickleburgh care home. Picture: Culrose Residential CarehomeBen Potterton of Earsham Wetland Centre with John the deer at the Dickleburgh care home. Picture: Culrose Residential Carehome

“Because John is hand tamed and walks to heel like a dog, we didn’t force him to do anything he didn’t want to. He walked into the lounge, he ate one man’s piece of orange and a sweet and went toddling down the corridor and met a gentleman who wasn’t able to leave his bed.”

Leanne Norman, manager of the home, said Earsham had stepped in at the last minute after a planned activity had fallen through but the visit had proved a big hit.

Orphan deer John proved a big hit with residents on his visit to a care home in Norfolk. Picture: Culrose Residential CarehomeOrphan deer John proved a big hit with residents on his visit to a care home in Norfolk. Picture: Culrose Residential Carehome

She said: “It was fantastic. John was a big hit, gorgeous and the interaction with the residents and all the petting of him was perfect. The conservation about it has been non-stop ever since with everyone asking when he is going to come back.”

The care home overlooks Dickleburgh Moor which is being developed into a community nature reserve by The Otter Trust based at Earsham. Work will take place this winter for a new visitor access path and bird hides and the trust is in discussions with the home on ways to improve access including a trailer to carry wheelchairs.

Mr Potterton said: “A lot of the people in the home are local and they remember that site historically when it used to flood and people used to ice skate on it. It’s a great memory stimulator for people with dementia to remember their youth and what they used to do.”

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