Diocese of

Hexham and Newcastle

Bishop Robert Byrne CO

Lockdown Stories

Since March 2020 life has changed in a way we couldn’t possibly have imagined.
We thought it would be helpful to give people an opportunity to reflect on this by sharing some of their lockdown stories. You will find some below.

Do you share some their experience or is yours very different? Please let us know, everyone’s story is unique. Submit yours to Jeremy Cain by email.

Thank you.
Fr. Adrian Tuckwell – Episcopal Vicar for Caritas.

Please note that for reasons of space, your stories may be edited. Also, let us know if you would prefer to remain anonymous.

Lockdown Story 1 (Anonymous):

As someone with underlying health issues that placed me in the vulnerable category, my COVID experience started with reasonably high levels of anxiety. That has reduced to some extent, but it is a constant emotion. Overall, though, coping with the pandemic has been relatively manageable as it has posed much lighter challenges for me than for some.

I am fortunate that I have been able to work from home. So significantly, my ability to earn an income has not been affected and so financial viability was not a stress I had to face. Of course, the structure of my life has become rather different with the necessity to isolate and so inability to participate in an array of regular group activities…

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Lockdown Story 2 (Anonymous):

There’s a tree opposite my front window. In March, when it was announced that over-70s should stay at home for twelve weeks, I remember looking at it, still stark and grey in its winter dress, and thinking, “It’ll be covered in leaves again by then.

It was hard to imagine.

In July, 2019, I had told the headteacher of the primary school in which I was teaching, part time and mostly casual, that the following year would be my last. This was not because my 70th birthday was approaching or because I didn’t like the job any more, but because work was getting in the way of other things that I was doing and wanted to do; most of which involve singing indoors with lots of other people…

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Lockdown Story 3 (Anonymous):

I’m 89 years old and live with my son. At the end of March he contracted COVID19 from his place of work.

I was already shielding at this time and also began to be ill myself, although not with COVID. So there were two us in a small house when the whole country was being told to keep your distance.

I was obviously deeply concerned about my son who was so ill that he did not leave his bedroom other than to use the toilet. He had never been so ill in all of his life. Hearing his pain was terrifying. I had to be concerned about my health too, sharing a house with someone with a dangerous illness that was killing older people. I remained free from the virus but my other health issues continued to deteriorate and everything became so difficult…

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Lockdown Story 4 (Anonymous):

The Covid19 lockdown has been tough on everyone, but as a disabled single mother I felt it acutely. I struggle every day with pain and fatigue, so I relied on my child’s time at nursery to recover and rest. When this and any grandparent support (all were shielding) was suddenly taken away from me I found it difficult to cope. I decided my best course of action would be to create a routine we could both manage and would occupy my little one both mentally and physically.

I worried about the education and school preparation my toddler would be missing out on with not being at nursery, so I found some pre–school workbooks on the internet and made a point of doing a little bit of work on letters, numbers and shapes, etc. each morning to make sure there would be no dropping behind the other children once school started.

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Lockdown Story 5 (Pat and Ged Downey):

Well, we never thought that the word “lockdown” would ever apply to us but on 16th March 2020 that is what happened in the UK. Suddenly our lives were completely changed as we had to adapt to a new way of continuing as normally as possible whilst also keeping safe from Covid19 and obeying the rules set down by the government.

As a retired couple, all of the work that we did was for various charities or voluntary work and it all had to stop. We could no longer do the healing ministry in the city centre, provide music ministry for mass at HMP Northumberland, hold a Sunday service at the local hospice, help out at the Mercy Hub and be part of the music ministry at our parish…

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Lockdown Story 6 (Walter Mullan):

Walter is currently resident in the St. Vincent de Paul supported accommodation next door to St. Dominic’s church in Newcastle; he’s been there almost 12 months. Prior to that, he was living on the streets.

I’ve got bi-polar disorder so getting out for walks is really important for my mental health. Although it was still possible to get out when lockdown began, I couldn’t do it as much. I struggled a bit with my mental health, cooped up with my own thoughts, stewing over things. But the staff here was amazing and it really helped to talk to them as well as the Scottish guy who lives downstairs…

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Lockdown Story 7 (Anonymous):

Most Christians will know that Jesus touched lepers and that saints like Charles Borromeo and Aloysius Gonzaga are famous partly for their fearless ministry to plague victims. Even for a Catholic priest, however, actively imitating this kind of virtue is challenging. That was my experience when a family contacted me one Saturday in May, during the lockdown, and asked me to give the Anointing of the Sick to their dying mother.

She was in a care home and her health had been declining for some time, but she had also tested positive for Covid19. The consensus was that she had, at most, a day or so to live. Being honest, the first thought that crossed my mind was, “Will I get sick? Am I willing to risk my life?” But I was mindful of the example of Christ and the aforementioned saints. I also reminded myself that lots of doctors, nurses, carers and other front-line workers were exposing themselves to the same sort of risks every single day. I decided that I should be willing to do my part…

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Lockdown Story 8 (Simon Todd):

At 2.30pm Saturday 21 March 2020 I began, what would become my last haircut for 15 weeks.

The rumours had been spreading for a while that we would soon be going into lockdown. Even at that late stage there were still a few of my customers who didn’t believe it would happen.

Then on Monday 23rd the Prime Minister made the announcement and set out the rules and regulations concerning the lockdown. From that moment, my business and countless others were closed, we were told for 3 weeks…

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