'They're so good' - Couple shielding for year praise 'lifeline' charity

Mary and Alick Large, from Scratby

Mary and Alick Large, who live in Scratby and have been shielding for a year, have praised Great Yarmouth charity Centre 81 for providing them with a lifeline service during the coronavirus pandemic. - Credit: Centre 81

An elderly couple who have been shielding for a year have praised staff at a Great Yarmouth charity for providing them with a "lifeline" during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mary Large, 77, and her husband, Alick, 80, have only left their home in Scratby for their first vaccinations and an occasional trip to the post box since March last year.

Mrs Large, who uses a wheelchair, said their weekly shopping delivery by Centre 81's drivers was the highlight of their week.

"We really rely on them so much. I don't know what we would have done without them," she said.

"We phone the office on a Wednesday with our shopping list and it usually gets delivered the following day. They're so good."

While staying at home over the past year, Mrs Large kept herself occupied by doing crochet.

She said: "I do things for charity. We also read, we watch the TV a lot, we look at the news a lot. You fill your days with what you need."

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When the country first went into lockdown, she thought it wasn't going to last long.

"But as the months went on, you could see it's not going to be just the one lockdown," she added.

"I'd love to get back out to my clubs. One use to be at a school in Caister, for old people, and the other one was in Scratby, a Thursday morning club. We'd do crafts and have a coffee."

She said that after they have received both doses of the vaccine, they would like to go to Great Yarmouth seafront and sit on a bench, where they could watch the people walk by.

The couple, who have two sons, have been married for 56 years. Originally from London, they used to holiday in Hemsby and liked the area so much they moved to the coast.

In April last year, Centre 81 launched its shopping and prescription delivery service via its community transport fleet and carries out up to 20 drop-offs a week to vulnerable and shielding people.

Centre 81 Great Yarmouth

Diana Staines, chief executive of Centre 81 in Great Yarmouth, has pulled out all the Covid-safe stops to keep the centre open. - Credit: TMS Media

Diana Staines, chief executive, said: "It's lovely to get such amazing feedback from members like Mary and Alick, whose lives have been affected to dramatically by Covid-19.

"Many of the people we have supported during this difficult time have expressed their gratitude to Centre 81's staff, who have worked tirelessly to keep in touch with people by phone, even if it's just for a chat."