Wigan care home pensioner's delight at being whisked off to Westlife arena gig

Jean O'Brien and Katy Grindley at the Westlife concert
Jean O'Brien and Katy Grindley at the Westlife concert

While teenagers may be the typical fans for boy bands, one pensioner proved age was no barrier to dancing the night away at a concert.

Jean O’Brien was delighted when staff at Worthington Lake care home in Standish arranged for her to go and see Westlife live.

Other news: Broadband down for several hours as technical problems hit Wigan

She had expressed her love of the group after seeing a poster advertising their 20th anniversary at the Empire cinema in Wigan.

Jean, who has dementia, said: “Westlife! They’re my favourite, especially Kian.”

The 84-year-old was at the cinema with friends from the care home to see a dementia-friendly screening of Mamma Mia.

The residents had such a good time at the cinema that when they returned to Worthington Lake, house assistant Katy Grindley decided to find out when Westlife would next be in the area.

A concert at Manchester Arena was approaching, so she booked tickets and the train journey to surprise Jean.

As the date approached, Katy told her: “We’re going to see Westlife in concert Jean!”

Jean was overwhelmed with excitement and when the day arrived, she chose to wear her favourite pink skirt suit.

She boarded the train with Katy and travelled from Wigan to Manchester Victoria, passing through Walkden where Jean and her husband Brian, who also lives at Worthington Lake, spent many years together.

When they got to the venue, they stocked up on chocolate and snacks and waited for the band to arrive on stage.

Jean said everyone in the audience was excited and she quickly became friends with the women sitting in the same row, who gave her kisses on the cheek.

The one man in the row picked up Jean so she could get a better view of her favourite Westlife member Kian than she had ever had before.

Jean spent the evening dancing with Katy and the other people in the row.

She whispered to Katy during the concert: “Thank you for giving me my life back.”

Before Jean moved into Worthington Lake, her hobbies included darts and dominoes. She said she would never have dreamed of having the experiences she has had in the past few months, which included travelling to the top of Snowdon as well as watching Westlife.

She said: “It was fantastic, I’ve never done anything like it before and feel I have a new lease of life. My son was a fan of Westlife when they first got together and my love of them grew then. We hired an Irish singer here at Worthington Lake who was almost as good, he should join Westlife.”

House assistant Katy said: “It was an absolute pleasure to be able to take Jean to see her favourite band Westlife. We’re so lucky here at Worthington Lake, having such a good ratio of staff to resident means we are able to do things like this and not only get to know each member of our home very well, but we form a friendship. Jean and I have done so much together recently.

“I feel lucky to have a friend like her.”