Barbara Martin hasn’t played the piano for over 50 years and due to Arthritis, she never thought she would again. But thanks to support from a student occupational therapist, she’s tinkling the ivories once more.

A music lover from a young age, Connors House resident, Barbara, used to enjoy all things symphonic from playing the piano to singing in choirs. With family life keeping her busy, she stopped playing years ago, and now, after two strokes and developing Arthritis, she never thought she would play again.

Barbara has recently been working with an occupational therapist student called Corin, who is on a placement from Canterbury Christ Church University. Together, the pair has been working on strengthening Barbara’s hands and fingers, through a range of activities and tools.

“Music is my passion,” Barbara says, “I can clearly remember singing around the piano as a family when I was younger, my children and grandchildren were all musical too. My first date with my husband, John, was to the BBC Proms! Corin and I got talking and I told him about my love for music and the piano.

“I honestly never even dreamt I would play the piano again. I always used to play Beethoven’s Für Elise and now I can’t believe I can play it again. Corin was so patient with me and has really helped my confidence grow, although I’m not ready to play for other people just yet! When I’m sitting in that big empty room and I can feel the sound coming from my fingers, it really is music to my ears. I can barely believe it is me playing it, it’s a real sense of achievement.”

Delighted with her progress, Barbara is continuing to do her exercises for her hands, keeping busy with crosswords and jigsaws and she now has a book of music too, which she practices daily after breakfast, in the activity room.

“I am a determined person,” she says, “I don’t like to rely on or ask people for things if I can do them myself. I got myself walking after my stroke and I plan to do as much as I can for as long as I can.”