It is 12 months since the whole of the country entered the very first lockdown due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was a situation no-one had ever experienced before – and something we hope we will never see again.
In this series of real short stories, we hear from ordinary Wirral people about events that affected them this past year.
This is Helen, a hairdresser at the heart of her community who has endured a rollercoaster of a ride this past year:-
“We moved house on the day the country went into lockdown. During lockdown, I kept in touch with my clients through social media. We shared family moments, had a lockdown ‘day at the races’, afternoon tea parties, we dressed up and we danced. When it was one of my daughters' birthdays, it seemed like the entire road came out to sing for her!
“But I also realised that not everyone is on social media, so I set up a WhatsApp group so no-one felt alone. It was a place for my clients to chat to each other, share their experiences... and bad lockdown fringe cuts! I video called others and sometimes left flowers on people's doorstep. I just wanted to raise spirits. If it made that person smile, I was happy.”
Eventually, the first lockdown began to ease and in July she was able to return to work – albeit with a range of brand new precautions such as a mask and visor. She said the experience was challenging and even though she’d missed being in the salon, she was also worried about putting her and others at risk.
“But then as a family we had an amazing summer - everyone was really positive and focussed, we had lovely walks and family days in the house. We’d lived in such a bubble during the summer that I have to say, I felt that the virus didn’t really affect us directly.”
But that all changed in September, when Helen’s eldest daughter moved out of the family home to go to university.
“As a mum that was massively emotional anyway but, when she tested positive for COVID-19, that was another level - my baby was ill and there was nothing I could do for her apart from take food parcels over and talk to her through a window three floors up on the mobile phone.”
In-keeping with the emotional rollercoaster, Helen also recalls two massive other moments that had her on a high over the last year.
“I got to marry my best friend. It was nerve-wracking, as the guidance changed so often and we weren’t sure if it was able to happen at times. But it did and it was just like we’d planned, with a few changes of course!
“Then in October I was nominated for Wirral’s High Street Heroes, a campaign run by the Council to celebrate small businesses who had supported their communities during the pandemic. It was such an honour, I even made an appearance on TV as part of it.”
Want to read more COVID-19 stories?