‘I’m having Christmas in June’: Norfolk families oppose festive lockdown lifting

Many people are saying they are going to stay away from their families at Christmas time. Pictured a

Many people are saying they are going to stay away from their families at Christmas time. Pictured are Lesley Nelson and Graeme Brammall. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto/EarnestTse/Lesley Nelson/Graeme Brammall - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/EarnestTse/Lesley Nelson/Graeme Brammall

With just over a month to Christmas, many families have begun thinking about how the special day will look this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Richard recommends cooking your turkey with stock and vegetables for less time. Picture: Getty Image

Richard recommends cooking your turkey with stock and vegetables for less time. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Reports suggest households might be allowed to mix indoors for a five-day period from Christmas Eve, and the government is considering plans to allow three or four households to form bubbles.

However, a five-day easing could mean a potential 25-day period of tighter measures into January if the Government was to follow advice from scientists.

Scientific advisor Andrew Hayward, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at University College London (UCL) and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), warned mixing posed a risk, particularly for older people.

In Norfolk, many families have decided to forgo larger gatherings for meetings later next year or virtual Christmases.


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Here are some views from Nelson’s County:

Christmas background with christmass balls - Soft focus

Christmas background with christmass balls - Soft focus - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Sally Johnson, Norwich

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Ms Johnson is a grandmother of two to Elijah and Carter, who live with her daughter Kayleigh in Manchester.

She said she would miss Carter’s first Christmas but her family’s health and wellbeing was more important and an easing of the rules for five days would not change her mind.

Ms Johnson, from Lakenham, said: “I’m having my Christmas in June. I want my family to be safe and well. That means more to me than Christmas.

“We had planned on everyone coming to mine this year as it’s my grandson’s first Christmas, but with the way things are it’s looking a bit bleak, which is a shame but not the end of the world to me.

Graeme Brammall has made a full recovery after being treated for coronavirus. He was also among the

Graeme Brammall has made a full recovery after being treated for coronavirus. He was also among the first patients at the NNUH to be enrolled in a national trial. Picture: Graeme Brammall - Credit: Archant

“It’ll be a once in a life time opportunity to have a summer Christmas.”

Graeme Brammall, Cromer

Mr Brammall spent nine days in hospital needing urgent care after contracting coronavirus in March.

He said technology was a way forward this Christmas to ensure people stayed at home, instead of the usual arrival of different family members.

The father-of-six, who is a pest technician, said he had accepted he would be unable to see some of his children this year, adding that the easing of restrictions for a number of days would be like “sticking a plaster on a boiler”.

Lesley Nelson, says she hopes up to four households can mix, so she can spend time with her family d

Lesley Nelson, says she hopes up to four households can mix, so she can spend time with her family due to her terminal diagnosis. Picture: Lesley Nelson - Credit: Archant

He said: “It’s unfair to contemplate getting in your car and travelling anywhere, it’s a risk bringing the virus back. Stay at home and bite the bullet as best you can. “At the end of the day, it’s life and death and a lot of people do not understand as they have never been that close to it. It gives you a reality check when something like that happens to you.

“I’d rather cancel Christmas and make it a little bit later or have a virtual Christmas.”

Lesley Nelson, from Hempnall, South Norfolk

For Lesley Nelson an easing of the measure would allow her to have her family together for a “normal Christmas” after being diagnosed with stage four lymphoma in October 2018.

The 55-year-old mother of two was among thousands of shielders in Norfolk who stayed at home for 19 weeks.

Ailene MacMullen and her husband Tim will spend Christmas together and not with their daughter Clare

Ailene MacMullen and her husband Tim will spend Christmas together and not with their daughter Clare, son-in-law Charlie and two grandsons Harry and Alfie due to the pandemic. Picture: Ailene MacMullen - Credit: Archant

Mrs Nelson said: “I have terminal cancer and this will probably be my last Christmas. So I am really hoping it will be a rule of four households. This will allow me to have both my sons and my sister and my mum, who is in my bubble. So all being well it should be a normal Christmas for us. We will have the windows open and be wearing masks when we aren’t eating though. I daren’t think what we may do if we are only allowed two households.”

Ailene MacMullen, from Mundford, near Northwold

Mrs MacMullen and her husband Tim said they would continue to be cautious even if it meant not seeing their daughter Clare, son-in-law Tim and grandsons Harry and Alfie, who lived in Scotland.

The member of Mundford Covid support group said: “I’m in my 60s and my husband is 70 next year. We feel like we’re 40 and there is a lot of living we want to do. We do not want it [coronavirus].

“It’s the thought of long Covid that is scary for the over 60s than the virus.

“I’d love to see my grandsons but have friends whose nine year old came to stay at half term. They were notified that a boy in his class tested positive so he went home. Unfortunately he had already passed on the virus to both his grandparents. He was asymptotic. I’m not sure I want to risk this - as much as I love and miss my grandsons.”

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