War veteran, 101, inundated with Christmas cards after revealing lockdown loneliness

John Lister, 101, who lives at Thorp House in Griston, near Watton, has been inundated with Christmas cards since...

John Lister, 101, who lives at Thorp House in Griston, near Watton, has been inundated with Christmas cards since revealing his experience of loneliness during lockdown - Credit: Marcia Hughes

A veteran who lost his wife to coronavirus has captured the hearts of a nation after highlighting his struggle with loneliness during lockdown. 

John Lister, 101, who lives at Thorp House in Griston, near Watton, has been inundated with Christmas cards since...

John Lister, 101, who lives at Thorp House in Griston, near Watton, has been inundated with Christmas cards since revealing his experience of loneliness during lockdown - Credit: Marcia Hughes

Hundreds of Christmas cards have this week been sent to 101-year-old, John Lister, whose openness about living in isolation has turned heads across the country. 

Mr Lister, who served as a gunner during the Second World War, told the EDP in November that lockdown had been "worse than the war".

And, in an interview with ITV Anglia earlier this month, his emotion was evident as he described losing his wife of 70 years and lifelong companion, Ella, to Covid-19. 

Ella, 91, and John Lister, 100, celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary at Thorp House Nursing Home

John Lister with his wife, Ella, who died earlier in 2020 after contracting coronavirus - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

But interest in Mr Lister has since snowballed, with another television appearance on BBC Breakfast taking his story national.

It has led to an outpouring of support for the former farmer, with hundreds of cards sent to Thorp House, as well as a signed Norwich City shirt with 101 on the back.

Mr Lister, who lived for many years in Deopham and ran the Half Moon pub with his wife, has even received personal letters from Captain Tom Moore and Sir Richard Branson. 

John Lister, 101, who lives at Thorp House in Griston, near Watton, has been inundated with Christmas cards since...

John Lister, 101, who lives at Thorp House in Griston, near Watton, has been inundated with Christmas cards since revealing his experience of loneliness during lockdown - Credit: Marcia Hughes

After receiving his latest haul of cards and gifts, he said: "How can I not feel loved after this?"


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Marcia Hughes, wellbeing and activities coordinator at Thorp House, said the past few days had been "overwhelming" for both the home and its famous resident.

John Lister, 101, who lives at Thorp House in Griston, near Watton, has been inundated with Christmas cards since...

John Lister, 101, who lives at Thorp House in Griston, near Watton, has been inundated with Christmas cards since revealing his experience of loneliness during lockdown - Credit: Marcia Hughes

She added: "John is absolutely made up. This has opened his eyes to the kindness that is out there.

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"We have been inundated with messages and gifts, and for the staff as well to thank them for the job they have been doing.

"John's smile says it all. A few days ago we had a man in tears on the news, and now he has the biggest grin in the world. He has described himself as elated. 

John and Ella Lister married in Deopham, 1949, and will soon celebrate their 70th wedding anniversar

John and Ella Lister were married for 70 years - Credit: Courtesy of Stephen Pullinger

"Covid has just been so draining for everybody, so gestures like this really make a difference. People are sick to the back teeth of negativity - they want to see something cheerful like this.

"What's happening is a breath of fresh air. It's beautiful."

John Lister, 101, who lives at Thorp House in Griston, near Watton, has been inundated with Christmas cards since...

John Lister, 101, who lives at Thorp House in Griston, near Watton, has been inundated with Christmas cards since revealing his experience of loneliness during lockdown - Credit: Marcia Hughes

Christmas cards for Mr Lister and the dozens of other residents can be sent to: Thorp House Nursing Home, Church Road, Griston, Norfolk, IP25 6QA.

John Lister, 101, who lives at Thorp House in Griston, near Watton, has been inundated with Christmas cards since...

John Lister, 101, who lives at Thorp House in Griston, near Watton, has been inundated with Christmas cards since revealing his experience of loneliness during lockdown - Credit: Marcia Hughes


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