As Shropshire quietly emerges from the second national lockdown, care homes across the county have been welcoming back visitors for the first time in months.

Paul Cooke from Hollinswood was one of the first visitors through the doors at Barclay Gardens in Donnington on Thursday (Dec 3) where he was reunited with his 94-year-old mother Lillian after nearly three months.

The pair talked about Christmas, shared photos, laughed and blew each other a kiss in what Mr Cooke described as a ‘fabulous’ occasion.

“I’ve been looking forward to seeing mum for so long. It was just fantastic to see her for the first time in a while,” he said.

“Mum has dementia and can’t remember a lot so I thought she might be upset and not understand why I hadn’t been to see her for so long but that was not the case, it was just fabulous.

“Barclay Gardens have done such a good job with putting in the screens so we can go and visit and I think a lot of people will be really happy.

“We took mum some flowers, chocolates and a card and these will be quarantined before they are given to her. She was looking so well, and the staff had done her hair and nails all nice. I made her laugh, we talked about Christmas and we blew each other a kiss.

“We’ll be booking another visit to see her next week and we will go now whenever we can.”

Barclay Gardens, which is managed by the county’s biggest not-for-profit care provider Coverage Care Services, closed its doors to visitors at the beginning of October in line with guidance issued by the Directors of Public Health in Telford and Shropshire and they remained closed until December 2 when national lockdown restrictions were eased.

Debbie Ellis, manager of Barclay Gardens, said: “It’s been such a difficult and challenging few months for families and residents not being able to see one another so it’s absolutely tremendous to be able to welcome visitors to our home again.

“It’s been an emotional few days, not just for families seeing their loved ones, but for our staff too who have worked incredibly hard these last few months to keep everyone’s spirits high.”

David Coull, Chief Executive of Coverage Care, added: “With good news of a vaccine being ready for roll-out and Covid cases dropping nationally, we feel as though there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel now.

“That said, we must all remain highly vigilant and we are asking all visitors to our homes to abide by very strict procedures so we can ensure all residents and staff remain as safe and as protected as possible against the virus.”

For further information about Coverage Care Services and its care homes visit the website