Turkeys Sharon and Ozzy saved from the Christmas dinner table thanks to care home staff

Rare-breed turkeys have been saved from the Christmas dinner plate thanks to kind-hearted staff and residents at a care home.

Monday, 23rd December 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd December 2019, 4:45 pm
Turkeys Sharon and Ozzy. Picture: Paul Norris

Sharon and Ozzy, named after the TV personality and her Black Sabbath frontman husband, have joined the growing menagerie at the Abbeyfield Society’s Armstrong House in Bamburgh.

The supported housing facility overlooking Bamburgh Castle already has two cheeky alpaca brothers called John and David, as well as a flock of hens, which roam the grounds.

Now Sharon and Ozzy are revelling in their newfound freedom and looking forward to enjoying Christmas without the fear of being given the chop.

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Rennie Porteous, 90, a resident at The Abbeyfield Society's Armstrong House in Bamburgh, with Ozzy and Sharon the turkeys. Picture: Paul Norris

The black and white Cröllwitzer turkeys owe their lives to house manager Paula Lingwood.

She had ordered a free-range turkey for the house’s Christmas table. But rather than eating it she decided she wanted to spare it and give it a forever home at Armstrong House.

She said: “I saw the turkey pardon carried out by President Trump at Thanksgiving, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the turkey we’d ordered for Christmas.

“Christmas is about forgiveness and compassion, so I decided as it’s the season of goodwill to all things, we should ‘pardon’ our turkey too.

Paula Lingwood, house manager at The Abbeyfield Society’s Armstrong House in Bamburgh, eyeballs Ozzy the turkey, who has been spared ending up as Christmas lunch. Picture: Paul Norris

“I knew we could give our turkey a lovely home. And if President Trump can have turkeys at Gobbler’s Rest in Virginia, we can certainly have turkeys here at Armstrong House.

“Of course, you can’t just have one, so we’ve now got the pair of them, who will be gobbling up their festive dinner along with the rest of us safe in the knowledge that unlike others of their breed, they won’t be the main focus of the Christmas Day – or any other day’s – menu.”

Sharon and Ozzy have been so named because of their flamboyant appearance with their contrasting black and white feathers and fondness for strutting around as if they already rule the roost.

The plucky poultry have quickly won over the hearts of Armstrong House’s residents.

Paula Lingwood with Ozzy the turkey, who has been spared ending up as Christmas lunch. Picture: Paul Norris

Rennie Porteous, 90, a retired dental surgeon, says: “They’re part of the family now. They are quite sociable and inquisitive, and come up to you to be fed. It’s nice to see live animals roaming the garden, and having the alpacas, hens and now the turkeys really helps to lift the spirits.”

Paula admits the turkeys have been ruffling a few feathers since their arrival at Armstrong House.

“They have very quickly settled in and have been wandering around like they own the place, to the disgust of the hens,” she revealed.

“Sharon is definitely the boss, much like it seems to be in the real-life Osbourne partnership!”

But what will the staff and residents at Armstrong House be sitting down to on Christmas Day?

“Definitely not turkey!” Paula says.