Welwyn Garden City girl becomes pen pals with residents at retirement community during lockdown

PUBLISHED: 17:10 03 September 2020 | UPDATED: 12:50 04 September 2020

Ophelia with letters from her pen pals. Picture: Supplied

Ophelia with letters from her pen pals. Picture: Supplied

Archant

A seven-year-old girl from Welwyn Garden City has been writing to people in a retirement community throughout the coronavirus pandemic after hearing they were lonely.

Ophelia on holiday with her teddy “sir smiles a-lot”, a teddy that was given to her by one of her pen pals. Picture: SuppliedOphelia on holiday with her teddy “sir smiles a-lot”, a teddy that was given to her by one of her pen pals. Picture: Supplied

Earlier this year Ophelia overheard her mum and grandmother talking about how hard it must be for older people who are not able to see and their family or go out.

She decided she wanted to help keep them entertained, so she began writing to the homeowners at McCarthy and Stone’s Peel Court retirement community.

Her mum Lissy said: “She wrote the first letter at the end of March and I put a cover letter in to ask the staff if they might pass this letter out to their residents and see if any might like to have a pen friend. They happily did so and so began this hugely positive experience that I think has helped a lot during the lockdown.

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“It became a weekly walk to Peel Court to deliver the letters.

“When Ophelia started going back to school for two days a week in July, she couldn’t wait to tell her Peel Court friends that she was going to see her teachers and friends.”

The pen pals at Peel Court have written to Ophelia talking about topics such as “what they did in the war when it was too dangerous to go outside to play or to go to school’, and for VE Day she drew and coloured Union Jacks for their windows and asked how they celebrated the real VE Day.

Lissy added: “They haven’t met yet. We did once see one of her pen pals as we were dropping off the letters, but they have all said how they would love to have an afternoon tea all together, when restrictions will allow.

“It has just been a really positive happy experience for all parties. Peel Court staff have been really good passing on letters, and cup cakes when Ophelia had her birthday – she wanted them to celebrate too.”

Ophelia has just started back at school full time, but is still planning to carry on writing to her pen pals.


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