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sweet messages Thousands of children answer Christmas card appeal for the over-70s

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One of the Christmas cards

One of the Christmas cards

One of the Christmas cards

Big-hearted children have sent thousands of handmade Christmas cards in reply to a garda appeal to spread some magic to those living alone.

Meath-based community garda Stacey Looby was expecting about 500 cards and was shocked when more than 2,500 handmade messages were delivered to the Navan station.

Gda Looby will now work to send the cards out to support groups.

Magic

"We have more than enough cards for those elderly and vulnerable who are living alone, so we can now pass on the magic to support groups in the county," she said

"I really can't believe how many children made a card and sent it in. They came from all over the country and even as far as the US and contain some really sweet messages."

Gda Looby was recently named one of Ireland's inspirational heroes in the Gala Retail and Virgin Media Inspiration Awards for her hard work, dedication and positivity during the Covid-19 crisis.

She drew up a list of vulnerable and elderly people around Co Meath and visited them regularly to make sure they were well and arrange for any shopping or medicines to be collected.

The visits were often a lifeline for those afraid and cocooning in rural parts of the county.

She also arranged for a choir to sing outside the home of an elderly women who was bed-bound and for a cake to be delivered to a 95-year-old while being serenaded by neighbours.

More than 500 cards were delivered to nursing homes after Gda Looby put out an appeal for Easter, but this time she is concentrating on those living in their own homes.

"An Post has kindly offered to deliver to nursing homes for free this Christmas, so I thought I might give the Christmas cards to those living on their own or cocooning," she said.

"It's amazing the little friendships formed from the Easter cards. I know a few kids who sent Easter cards and the couples sent one back.

"Then they became pen pals of sorts and already a few children in Offaly are making Christmas cards for their new cocooning friends in Navan.

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"There are a lot of people out there who are alone and afraid.

"They're afraid to let people visit and neighbours are often afraid to visit in case of cross-contamination.

"It's coming up to Christmas and many won't have family at home or be able to go to the community Christmas dinners that many groups organise.

"I just thought cards are a nice thing to do to bring a little cheer and let them know that some child somewhere is thinking of them and they're not alone."


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