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Ann, like many of her generation, emigrated from her native Dublin to London in the 1960’s. While she was very sad at leaving her family and friends in her native homeland, she was delighted with the opportunities that London offered her. She quickly found employment in her new city, working as a cook, and shortly after her arrival met the love of her life, Jimmy, a native of Belfast, who sadly died a number of years ago.

Ann was always active in her local church and helps with sacristan duties, rosary group and social occasions such as the International Mass and St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Like many Irish people living on her own during the Covid pandemic, Ann missed connecting with her family and friends during the lockdown. Always a sociable person, Ann was sure not interact with others both to protect them and herself. Thankfully she avoided getting Covid. However, it was a challenging time for her as during the lockdown she deeply wished to interact with others. Her regular attendance at Mass and the Rosary was not possible and Ann missed visiting her local church.

Ann was recommended to be part of the ‘Keeping Connected’ scheme that was offered by the Irish Chaplaincy Seniors Project. She received a Tablet, and a dongle with a monthly allowance for internet usage. She was trained on how to use the internet and provided with ongoing support. Ann described how her life was transformed by receiving this support from the Irish Chaplaincy. She said, “I felt so isolated, now I feel so connected with my family and friends. I can attend Mass on-line. I love hearing my local radio station LMFM. It’s the best thing anyone has ever done for me.”

Ann has participated in a number of Irish Chaplaincy events including offering blessings for our retreats, Eddie’s book launch (where she took to the dancefloor), and our annual service of remembrance for all who have died in Westminster Cathedral.

Ann is one of the elderly Irish people who are assisted by the work of the Irish Chaplaincy’s Seniors Project in helping them to reduce their feelings of isolation, loneliness, vulnerability and increasing their feelings of warmth, being cared for and connected with others.

Eddie Gilmore

Author Eddie Gilmore

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