Mum and daughter reunite at Chigwell care home after year apart

Margaret Godfrey was able to visit her 93-year-old mum Winnie Mulgrew in Lambwood Heights in Chigwell

Margaret Godfrey was able to visit her 93-year-old mum Winnie Mulgrew and hold hands with her for the first time in more than a year. - Credit: Oakland Care

Staff in a Chigwell care home brought together a mum and daughter on Mother's Day to hold each other's hands for the first time in a year.

Winnie Mulgrew, 93, lives at Lambwood Heights in Lambourne Road and had not been able to touch her daughter, Margaret Godfrey, since coronavirus restrictions began last March.

The pair had only been able to meet on either side of a clear screen in the home’s summer house, and Winnie found it difficult to understand why the two of them could not be together.

Mother and daughter Winnie Mulgrew and Margaret Godfrey were brought face to face after months of se

The mother and daughter were first brought together in the summer thanks to an innovative summer home that allowed safe visits with a screen separating them. - Credit: Oakland Care

The emotional moment of their reunion was thrilling for Margaret, from Buckhurst Hill, who would visit her mum almost every day before the lockdown.

She said: “I was waiting in Mum’s room and when the staff brought her in, I don’t know how I stopped myself from putting my arms around her.  We both cried! 

“I’ve been able to see her nearly every week since they opened the summer house in June, but it’s nothing like actually being face to face and holding hands.”

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Wearing full PPE, Margaret was able to sit with Winnie while she enjoyed a glass of champagne and chocolates from the box Margaret had brought as a gift.  

Staff had decorated Winnie’s room with a Mother’s Day banner and arranged Margaret’s bouquet of flowers.

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Residents in care homes in England are now allowed to have one designated visitor since the government relaxed restrictions on March 8.  

Family members have to book appointments and take a coronavirus test before entering, and contact is limited to holding hands. 

But home manager, Sonia Kasese, said relatives have been overwhelmed to be able to have even limited touch. 

The staff has adapted to the pandemic to organise window visits, video calls and visits to the summer house. 

But Sonia said: "Nothing compares to being able to be in the same room and actually touch the person they love.

"It has been especially challenging for our residents with dementia as some have struggled to understand why their families couldn't come into the lounge or their room.

“Mother’s Day was a wonderfully emotional day for families, residents and our staff – they very much care for our residents and there was a tear in everyone’s eye.”

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