A care home resident who has no family or visitors was close to tears after a kind gesture by a complete stranger.
An unexpected letter and a photo of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier wearing a party hat was received by Emma Adams, 92, at a Runcorn care home.
The delivery came as a complete surprise to Emma, a resident at Simonsfield Care Home on Boston Avenue.
Gemma Rigby, 20, also from Runcorn, got in touch with the care home to ask if she could write to one of the residents.
Manager Debbie Smith chose Emma as she has no family and does not receive visitors – having had no children with her late husband Harry, a former member of the Navy.
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Emma has lived in Liverpool and Runcorn, where she worked in Taverners and Rutledge Sweet Factory, British Enca and Blakes Car Sales, before moving to Simonsfield Care Home in February 2018.
Gemma sent a four-page handwritten letter to Emma, also enclosing a photo of her pet dog Zak at his last birthday party, when he was wearing his red conical party hat.
Gemma said: “I decided to write to a resident at Simonsfield because I really wanted to brighten someone’s day who needs it.
“The pandemic has been such an uncertain time and, without visitors, I feel as though many residents may feel so lonely.
“Not many people hand write letters anymore, but it’s so much more personal than a text or message over social media, and really lets someone know you are thinking of them, whilst also letting them hear all about your day.
“It’s so rewarding to keep in contact with a resident and just one letter can make such a difference. I would really encourage others to do it.”
Debbie said: “We read Gemma’s letter to Emma, who was close to tears with the thought that a stranger was kind enough to think of her.
“She was so thrilled and emotional and really wanted to make the effort of replying herself.”
Emma wrote back to Gemma: “Thank you for your lovely letter and taking the time to write to me. I enjoyed reading it and I loved the picture of your dog Zac. He’s lovely.
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“I also love dogs and have had several over my lifetime. I think my favourite was called Prince, who my husband Harry bought for me when we were married.
“I like to use sign language as I learned it as a child, as my parents were deaf and didn’t speak. Then my sister came along and couldn’t hear or speak either, so I can sign and enjoy showing others how to do this.”
Debbie added: “Something as simple as a letter can mean the world to an elderly resident and we’d encourage anyone who can spare the time to get in touch with their local care home to see if you can write to someone living there.
“Our thanks go to Gemma for getting in touch with us, at Simonsfield, and we hope she and Emma will continue to enjoy their pen pal friendship.
"Hopefully they will be able to meet in person sometime soon.”