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‘Heartwarming’ Norfolk photo inspires Duchess of Cambridge

PUBLISHED: 15:29 07 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:29 07 May 2020

Ray and Theresa Cossey putting their hands up to glass doors to “touch” the fingers of their great grandchildren, three-year-old Florence and one-year-old Edith. Photo: Ray Cossey

Ray and Theresa Cossey putting their hands up to glass doors to “touch” the fingers of their great grandchildren, three-year-old Florence and one-year-old Edith. Photo: Ray Cossey

Ray Cossey

Norfolk great-grandparents have told of their amazement after their heartwarming lockdown photo inspired the Duchess of Cambridge to start a project capturing the spirit of the nation.

Three-year-old Florence (right) and one-year-old Edith Johnson (left) are the great-granddaughters of Ray and Theresa Cossey. Photo: Ray CosseyThree-year-old Florence (right) and one-year-old Edith Johnson (left) are the great-granddaughters of Ray and Theresa Cossey. Photo: Ray Cossey

When 81-year-old Ray and Theresa Cossey, from Little Plumstead, where pictured having a special moment with their great-grandchildren during lockdown, neither could have anticipated how many hearts the image would touch.

But they are behind the Duchess of Cambridge’s photography project to share experiences of a “new normal”.

In collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, Kate has asked the public to send in their photographs of life throughout the pandemic.

And in a special TV appearance on ITV’s This Morning, the Duchess spoke of how the image of Mr and Mrs Cossey isolating in their home and putting their hands up to glass doors to “touch” the fingers of their great-grandchildren, three-year-old Florence and one-year-old Edith, was part of her inspiration.

Ray and Theresa Cossey, from Little Plumstead, are part of the inspiration behind the Duchess of Cambridge's photograph project to capture the spirit of the nation during the pandemic. Photo: Ray CosseyRay and Theresa Cossey, from Little Plumstead, are part of the inspiration behind the Duchess of Cambridge's photograph project to capture the spirit of the nation during the pandemic. Photo: Ray Cossey

The Duchess said: “There are some desperately sad stories out there but moments like this are really heartwarming to see and that actually there is connection there. It is different, it’s the new normal for all of us. But those moments can take place and it really resonated with me.”

Mr Cossey said he hoped the photograph was a comfort to others and some day part of history.

The former commercial manager at Norwich City Football Club said: “It was a bit strange to see yourself being talked about by a member of the royal family.

“But for her to decide this is her favourite picture is quite amazing and we are very pleased she liked the photograph and it was one she very much connected with.”

Victoria Johnson, granddaughter of Ray and Theresa Cossey, with her children Florence and Edith Johnson. Photo: Ray CosseyVictoria Johnson, granddaughter of Ray and Theresa Cossey, with her children Florence and Edith Johnson. Photo: Ray Cossey

He added: “When you think back over all of our knowledge of history it is very much encompassed in TV and film and in 100 years this will be a record of what happened in 2020.

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“And from our personal point of view, it will be a wonderful thing for our great-granddaughter to look back on.”

Mr and Mrs Cossey said they hoped restrictions would soon start to lift so they could be re-united with their family who they were “missing dearly”.

The Duchess of Cambridge has made a virtual bedside visit to new parents during a video call to midwives from her home in Norfolk. Picture: Sonya DuncanThe Duchess of Cambridge has made a virtual bedside visit to new parents during a video call to midwives from her home in Norfolk. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Mr Cossey said: “It started as a simple family snap with our great granddaughters and we never expected that it would capture people’s imagination like it has, but it epitomises the problems that all grandparents are facing.

“The relationship between grandparents and grandchildren or great grandchildren is very special and to be denied that is quite difficult.”


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