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97-year-old former WW2 nurse gets lockdown birthday surprise

PUBLISHED: 17:30 16 April 2020 | UPDATED: 18:38 16 April 2020

MASH volunteer Jane Garry (left) and group founder Jo Powers on their way to deliver birthday gifts to Sheringham resident Gwyneth Denton, 97.
Photo: contributed

MASH volunteer Jane Garry (left) and group founder Jo Powers on their way to deliver birthday gifts to Sheringham resident Gwyneth Denton, 97. Photo: contributed

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A former Second World War nurse celebrated her 97th birthday in style, when members of a coronavirus community support group knocked on her door with a stack of surprise gifts.

Former Second World War nurse Gwyneth Denton, 97, with a bouquet of flowers presented to her on her birthday by Sheringham support group MASH'
Photo: contributedFormer Second World War nurse Gwyneth Denton, 97, with a bouquet of flowers presented to her on her birthday by Sheringham support group MASH' Photo: contributed

Gwyneth Denton, who has lived alone since the death of her husband 14 years ago, has been self-isolating at her Sheringham home for more than three weeks.

Unable to go out, she has relied on Mutual Aid Sheringham (MASH) to collect her medicines and shopping and, when the group’s co-founder Jo Powers heard she would be celebrating her birthday alone, she decided to help brighten her day.

“We wanted to do something special,” Ms Powers said. “We ended up with 15 handmade cards, as well as chocolates, other gifts and hot cross buns as they are Gwyneth’s favourite.”

Mrs Denton’s regular volunteer Jane Garry, who makes two trips a day on her bike to collect prescription medicines for people supported by MASH, arrived at Mrs Denton’s home carrying a a bouquet of spring flowers, with Ms Powers following behind with a bag of cards and presents.

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Mrs Denton, who keeps in touch with her two sons, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren via Facetime, said she was “absolutely delighted” with the gifts.

She added: “The volunteers are so kind as although I’ve got very good neighbours, they are all over 70 so I don’t know what I would have done without them.”

Mrs Garry, 65, retired to Sheringham with her husband five years ago and signed up as a MASH volunteer shortly after it was set up by Ms Powers and her friend Caz New.

She is also a volunteer for similar schemes run by Sheringham Salvation Army and Sheringham Community Support, as well as helping with the town’s annual carnival and elderly people’s Christmas lunch.

“I’m known as the ‘prescription queen’,” Mrs Garry said. “I have got the energy, I’ve got the time, and I think that in a time of crisis, we need to pull together.

“Sadly, there are a lot of older people still walking up and down the town and if I can collect their prescriptions so they don’t need to go out, then I feel I will have done something to help them stay at home.”

To contact Mutual Aid Sheringham, either to sign up as a volunteer, or to ask for assistance, visit the group’s Facebook page, or phone 07554 287238 or 07423 297036.


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