RESIDENTS of five of the county’s care homes discovered a love of ping pong at the Oxford base of market research giant Nielsen.

Thirty elderly people from the Isis and Glebe House care homes in Oxford, Westgate House in Wallingford, Madley Park House in Witney and Lake House in Adderbury near Banbury were invited to Headington-based Nielsen last week for a day of table tennis.

After watching a special screening of the film Ping Pong, which tells the story of a group of octogenarians who travel to Inner Mongolia to compete in the over-80s Table Tennis Championships, the senior citizens enjoyed lunch and then got to try their hand at the sport themselves.

The event was part of a global staff volunteering day in conjunction with the Oxfordshire Community Foundation.

Nielsen commercial director Julian Baldwin said: “Nielsen staff around the world were given the opportunity to make an impact in their communities by volunteering their time and skills.

“Here in Oxford we have 700 staff, so we contacted Oxfordshire Community Foundation to ask for their advice about how we could best be of help.

“When they told us about the Get Batty initiative, which is encouraging older people to stay fit and combat isolation, we were keen to get involved.

“The event was a massive hit with the Nielsen team and everyone is still talking about it and recalling their own stories from the day and their interactions with our guests.”

Among the guests was Gladys Brown, 87, of Lake House, Adderbury. She said: “I had a wonderful time.”

Lake House activities supervisor Frances Morgan said: “We are now investing in a table tennis net, bats and balls to give other residents a go at this lovely sport.”

Jayne Woodley, the chief executive of the community foundation, said: “The Nielsen volunteers did Oxfordshire proud.”

Groups and businesses interested in finding out more about the Get Batty initiative can call OCF on 01865 798666.