LOCKDOWN clients of the Parklea project were left all shook up when ELVIS turned up on their doorstep.

Bosses from the Branching Out gardening scheme arranged house visits from Elvis impersonator John Reid to the people who have been unable to get to their regular sessions at the Port horticultural haven due to the pandemic.

Parklea Branching Out uses gardening to help local people who have support needs to achieve their full potential.

The 'King' struck just the right chord as he visited several people for distanced doorstep performances to make them smile and beat the lockdown blues.

First port of call was Lindsey Bishop, 43, of Greenock's Auchmead Road, who lives with her mum Pauline Fox, step-dad and sister.

Pauline said: "It was fabulous fun.

"Elvis sang Return to Sender with the words changed to Return to Parklea.

"Lindsey loved it, she was singing along.

"She knew she was getting a surprise but she didn't know what it was."

Lindsey has been going to Parklea for more than six years to take part in creative art sessions.

Pauline said: "She is devastated that she can't go to Parklea just now, she loves it."

Callum T Daisley, 22, also got a chance to do a bit of 'blue suede shoes' dancing with the singer outside his home in Greenock, along with his Parklea pal Barry Gillen.

Callum has been at Parklea for just over three years, firstly for art, and he now takes part in therapeutic gardening too.

Callum's mum Ali said: "Elvis was absolutely brilliant, Barry came up with his mum too and they were both dancing away.

"I think it's really good that Parklea organised this.

"They have been very good during lockdown with Zoom calls and Callum gets an art challenge every week as well."

The Greenock Elvis whistlestop tour also included supported accommodation run by Key Housing in Adelaide Street in Gourock.

Residents spent time with their star visitor in the garden and got their pictures taken.

They received a jigsaw with a picture of Parklea with the words Wishing You Were Here - See You Soon and a free CD from John.

John’s tour is being recorded for Inverclyde Council’s Lockdown Life social history project.

Wes Kingston and Stephen Henry, volunteers from the Inverclyde Community Action Response Group, are filming the event and interviewing those involved.

The project has been set up by the staff from Watt Institution as part of the Great Place Scheme, funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund.

Councillor Jim Clocherty said: “Lockdown Life project is about recording how our local communities have responded to the challenges posed by the pandemic.

“The pandemic is day-to-day life for all of us just now but in the future it will be regarded as a significant historical event.

"The project includes stories, objects, pictures and documents that preserve the personal experiences of local people for future generations.

“John’s performance is an example of how community groups have come up with innovative and entertaining ways to help people deal with some of the hardest aspects of the lockdown – loneliness and isolation. "I’m certain that John’s performance will always be on our minds and I hope he won’t have to worry about Early Morning Rain on his tour!”

Susan Steell (correct), a co-ordinator at Parklea Branching Out, said: “The months of lockdown have taken their toll on people's mental health and wellbeing.

"Our clients, many of whom are shielding, have found it a very difficult and unsettling time.

"Throughout lockdown the Parklea team has continued to support our clients weekly by providing a friendly face with comfort boxes, including food, flowers, creative activities and challenges to keep them motivated throughout the long days in their homes.

“As we are in phase two out of lockdown, I thought it would be a great boost to our clients to have an Elvis impersonator serenade them at their doorsteps.

"I chose Return to Sender and changed some of the words as I wanted to let them know that we are here for them as soon as it is safe for them to return.

"We hope it won’t be too much longer until we can welcome our clients back."