Former Blue Peter presenter Simon Thomas has shared his pain over being unable to visit his elderly father in a care home during the coronavirus lockdown.

The former Sky Sports presenter, 47, admitted he is struggling as he's not allowed to drive to Norfolk to see his dad, who is in residential care.

In an emotional post on Instagram, Simon uploaded a shot of himself FaceTiming his father alongside his young son Ethan.

Simon captioned the picture: "FaceTiming the old man today. For lots of people this is a really tough time.

"It’s especially hard for those in care homes. Visits from family and friends are often all that residents have to look forward to each day.

"Now they face an indefinite period where those visits can’t happen. Wish I was able to drive up to Norfolk and give my Dad a wave through the window.

"But for now, FaceTime, phone calls and a few cards from Ethan will to do."

Simon Thomas' elderly dad is in a care home in Norfolk

Simon, whose wife Gemma passed away from leukaemia in 2017, signed off with a touching message that evoked the recent national address from Her Majesty The Queen.

He concluded: "Thoughts with everybody with loved ones in care homes and of course in hospitals who they’re unable to see right now. In the words of the Queen - 'we will meet again.'"

Naturally, the emotionally raw post drew an equally touching response from Simon's followers.

One fan commented: "It's so very sad you can't even give your dad a wave. In this crazy times I feel so privileged we are here still allowed to meet my mum (she's not in a home), outside and keeping the distance, but at least it's something.

"I wish you and your father you can hug each other soon again and of course I wish that to everyone! Hold on and keep going. Stay safe! xx"

Simon with his late wife Gemma

Another follower wrote: "Good to see a pic of your dad Simon. He’s looking well. Xx"

"Its so hard i work in a care home we are keeping them safe dont worry," replied another, "im.sure your dad is in good care."

A care home worker commented: "I work in a residential home with specialist dementia care. Our activities coordinator has been face timing service users families so they can still see them even though they can't visit.

"Today they have made easter cards for their families which have been sent out in the post. So good to have technology to be able to keep in touch."

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Finally, another person affected by the crisis commented:
"Love him. He looks well. The hardest bit for me, My mum isn't in a care home but I really miss her and we didn't get to see each other Sunday as it was a year since my dad died."

There really is no stop to the impact that the coronavirus pandemic is having, but it's always good to remember that you're not alone.

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