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Older residents have a hoot with a parliament of owls

6 July 2015

Owl 1

Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage brought joy to Hanover Walk, a retirement housing estate in Storrington, West Sussex.

Joined by Paddy Ashdown, Denis Healey and Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley, these were not the venerable politicians but their owl namesakes.

The parliament of owls was brought to Hanover Walk by Sussex-based owl society Owls About Town. The society takes the owls for visits to schools, care homes and retirement housing estates, bringing delight and therapeutic benefits.

The owls' visit to Hanover Walk was thanks to Estate Manager Val Harber, who had been tipped off by the rave reviews of a resident on the estate.

In all, around 40 residents watched ‘Boris’, ‘Nigel’ and their chums perform a variety of aerial acrobatics. The residents also got to handle the owls.

Val Harber says: ‘Hanover has great experience as a pet-friendly housing provider. We know the joy and therapeutic benefits that animals can bring. For people who do not have pets of their own, we – and other estates up and down the country – arrange for visitor pet services to come and see our residents.

‘Whether domestic pets or visiting wildlife, our residents always enjoy the therapeutic benefits animals can bring to their living environment.’

Owls About Town owns 30 owls – all named after politicians.

Andy Kendall, Owls About Town proprietor, says: ‘With the collective noun for owls being a “parliament” we felt it natural to name ours after politicians. Whether they resemble their namesakes in character, we let others decide.

‘While we visit all sorts of venues with our owls, we always enjoy our trips to retirement housing estates. We can tell it works wonders for the morale of residents.’

Hanover Walk resident Diane Fletcher agrees: ‘It was lovely to see these stunning creatures in full flight. Hanover Walk has a lovely atmosphere and is enhanced further when we have visitors like this.’