From the postie raising spirits with his outlandish costumes to the grandparents who have successfully battled the coronavirus and returned home to their loved ones, there is some light amid the gloom.
A 94-year-old great-grandmother and an 82-year-old grandfather are among those to have beaten the coronavirus and returned to their homes.
Grandmother-of-seven Joy spent nine days fighting the virus at James Paget Hospital in Gorleston, Norfolk. “Thanks to the care, love and diligent attention of the NHS she is home in her own bed tonight,” said her grandson, Toby Basil.
Meanwhile, Joseph Ruddy, 82, returned home to his wife in Newcastle after spending 10 days in the Royal Victoria Infirmary.
“Done like a true trooper,” said his granddaughter Erin, as she tweeted a photo of him being dropped off by a paramedic, now been liked more than 100,000 times. “He’s in high spirits and glad to be home.
“He didn’t have any symptoms and that’s what surprised us all,” Erin said. “His progress was monitored and he was allowed to come home on 28 March. He’s a hero and I honestly hope this inspires others to think positive.”
The community cuppa
A whole street in Hebden Bridge came together for a socially distanced cup of tea on Saturday after a neighbour said she was struggling with loneliness.
Kirsty Newton suggested the idea via the street WhatsApp group: “Our neighbour said she was feeling very low – she lives alone and her dog died in October, so she’s really feeling very alone. So I said, well why don’t we just have a cup of tea? We won’t be next to each other but we can wave to each other and catch up.”
At 11am on Saturday, about 12 residents in the street brought out chairs and a brew in the sunshine, and chatted down the street.
“It’s nice just to have a bit of actual contact,” said Newton, a 43-year-old musician. “We’ve all got the screen contact, but it’s not quite the same as actually seeing someone face-to-face.”
Another communal cuppa brought out even more residents yesterday, and Newton said they might organise another get together to celebrate a neighbours’ upcoming birthday.
The Stockport Spiderman
A mysterious figure known only as the Stockport Spiderman has been cheering up isolated children in the Greater Manchester borough. Spiderman goes out for an hour each day – even superheroes need to take their government-sanctioned exercise – and visits a different neighbourhood to bring joy to children.
Parents can request a visit to their street, on the condition their offspring stay indoors and wave from their windows. Many young fans have been donning Spiderman pyjamas and dressing gowns as they wait for their hero to appear in their cul-de-sac.
In a video on his Facebook page, the Stocky Spidey explained the rules of engagement: “I can only go out just for an hour a day, just to keep fit and strong. I know it’s super hard for you all right now, having to stay indoors, not seeing your friends. But just know you’re doing the right things. Keep listening to mum and dad and the grown-ups and I will see you soon.”
Also in Stockport, one household is bringing cheer to their street by dressing up lifesize bears in different costumes each day and arranging them in their front garden.
The fancy dress postman
Noticing his customers seemed a little down, a postie in South Tyneside decided to raise spirits by doing his rounds in fancy dress.
Jon Matson, from West Bolden, has delivered mail dressed as Cleopatra, Little Bo Peep, a cheerleader and a soldier over the past few days, and has received an overwhelmingly positive response from the public.
The 39-year-old father-of-two said: “It has lifted the spirits of the entire community and it’s got a lot of people connected and talking which I think is a vital lifeline while we’re stuck inside.”
He has gathered quite a collection from taking part in charity Boxing Day dips over the years, and after initially planning to dress up just a few times a week, popular demand means he has now promised to show off a new outfit every day.
“The reaction on day one was amazing,” Matson told the BBC. “A few people didn’t notice at first, but the word started to spread on Facebook and people were looking out for me.”