An emotional reunion and chips for lunch: uplifting Covid stories

A woman moves into a care home to be with her husband, and a chippy steps in when a school canteen has to close

Kenneth and Betty Meredith
Kenneth and Betty Meredith were reunited with a surprise meal at Bourn View care home in Birmingham. Photograph: Rosie Boshell/SWNS

From care homes to chip shops and cathedrals, here’s a roundup of heartwarming stories from around the UK.

Woman moves into care home to be with husband

Kenneth Meredith, 96, broke down in tears when his wife Betty revealed she was moving into his care home to be with him after weeks apart.

In a video clip shared by Meredith’s granddaughter online, the pair were reunited at Bourn View care home in Birmingham with a surprise meal complete with love-heart balloons and confetti.

charl (@chaarlchap)

My grandad went into a care home 5 weeks ago and my nan couldn’t live without him so she decided to move in and the care home did this for them my actual heart 🥺 pic.twitter.com/W8BWoAibGz

November 10, 2020

The couple didn’t know when they would be able to see each other again because of Covid restrictions on care home visits, and staff said there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

“Are you happy?” Betty asks her husband in another clip.

“I am much better now I see you,” he replies.

Cathedrals offered as vaccination centres

Blackburn cathedral
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Blackburn cathedral could begin operating as a vaccination centre as early as next month.
Photograph: Kevin Walsh/Alamy

At least half a dozen Church of England cathedrals have offered their buildings as Covid-19 vaccination centres, saying their size and city centre location make them potentially useful venues for the anticipated mass public health programme.

Blackburn cathedral is in advanced talks with local health officials over converting its crypt into a vaccination centre for a period of 12 to 14 months.

Lichfield is also in discussions with health providers, and Southwark, Gloucester, Bury St Edmunds and Guildford cathedrals have offered their buildings.

Blackburn cathedral could become a vaccination centre from December, operating 12 hours a day, seven days a week. It has a large crypt with a separate entrance which will be used as the vaccination centre.

“They will turn it into a sort of field hospital,” said the cathedral’s dean, Peter Howell Jones.

“We’ve always taken the view that we’re part of the community, that the Church of England is a church for the whole nation. So at a time of national crisis we need to roll up our sleeves and help.”

Adrian Dorber, the dean of Lichfield and chair of the Association of English Cathedrals, said: “This is one of the best things we can offer the nation at the moment. Local circumstances will vary and not every cathedral will be able to do this, but it’s lovely to do what we can at this time of great need.”

Chippy steps in after Covid closes school canteen

A local chip shop has stepped in to provide free meals for pupils after a school canteen was forced to close when a staff member tested positive for Covid-19 and others had to self-isolate.

Ruddington Fish Bar in Nottingham is providing 285 meals of fish, chips and mushy peas for children at St Peter’s C of E junior school on Fridays for two weeks.

The chip shop’s owner, Demetrios Lawton, whose eldest son attends the school, said: “It’s very difficult at the moment to find ways to get children motivated and excited, so we’re just trying to inject a little bit of positivity.

“We’re all in a very difficult situation and it’s not going to be a very good year for any business, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still help in our own little way.”

Scottish islanders allowed to meet indoors again

Scotland’s island communities are looking forward to meeting friends and family indoors for the first time in months from Friday, after a relaxation of the rules on home gatherings.

Up to six people from two households will be able to meet in a home in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles. Announcing the change on Tuesday, Nicola Sturgeon said this was because cases there were “very low and sporadic”, and “we recognise social isolation is exacerbated in island communities where there are not as many public places to meet”.

Roddie MacKay, leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the Western Isles council, welcomed the relaxed rules for his region.

“We have got remote rural villages where there is no infrastructure, cafes and restaurants, where people can go and meet their families,” he said. “Then you have issues with the winter weather here and it wouldn’t be realistic to expect people to meet outside.”