I live in Owermoigne with my husband. The village has always had an excellent band of volunteers but the lockdown has really opened my eyes as to how lucky we are to live here.

Before the lockdown we enjoyed a variety of activities, Pilates, short mat bowls, skittles, Monday club, luncheon club, bingo, coffee mornings with bacon butties, The Village Market and there are still more! Many of these closed down due to Covid. However, we the older members of the village, were not forgotten. Neighbours helped out; shopping every week, sometimes twice a week if something was forgotten.

The first Tuesday when our regular coffee morning would have been held, volunteers brought to all of us oldies a delicious plate of cupcakes. Then a Tuesday village coffee morning opened up, with all the necessary precautions, and we were invited to bring books or jigsaws to swap. The books and jigsaws we brought were left aside to be sterilised and we brought home with us some regular reading material or a jigsaw to fill the lockdown hours. At the same time we were given a free cup of coffee or tea and a piece of cake. After lockdown we now pay for the refreshments which is only right.

On V.E. Day we joined our neighbours for a cream tea party. We put bunting up on our drives and chatted away merrily. We even had a group of villagers who came round and entertained, just like the Mummers of old!

The luncheon club has started up again, seated suitably apart, we were presented with a delicious three course meal, cooked for us by an extremely able local chef. (I won’t tell you the price, there will be too many people wanting to join).

The cricket club has now opened up. We are seated between screens and are served at the table and can now enjoy an evening or afternoon chatting with friends.

On Friday we trotted off to the luncheon club. I knew that many volunteers had been working on improving the hall. We have a beautiful new fitted kitchen, the hall has been redecorated and everywhere looks clean and bright. But now our wonderful volunteers have begun to modernise the backrooms of the hall which were places where equipment, etc was stored. Now they have begun work on those too. I was shown round and it’s amazing the change that is taking place. Lots of new storage areas and cupboards, two light and bright rooms are being created, one a general activities room and a committee rom. There’s still a lot to do and they are all so enthusiastic. In September they plan to clad the outside of the hall.

What wonderful people there are in Great Britain. I know this sort of thing is happening all around the country and I know how lucky we are to live here in Dorset but I just want to say thank you to all the fantastic volunteers we have here.

I’m now 81 as is my husband and we haven’t the energy to volunteer too. I wish we could but I would love you to publish this to thank them all, and I guess there are others like them, for such kindness which we can never repay.

I just want you know that we are so thankful, and that what you have done and are still doing is an amazing thing. Instead of lockdown being a trial you have made it an adventure for us all!

Thank you so much.

Jean Barnard