'I'm sending my gran some love in an envelope'

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Margaret and Lucy on Lucy's wedding dayImage source, Lucy Mein
Image caption,
Margaret and Lucy on Lucy's wedding day

Lockdown, social distancing and local anti-virus restrictions have made seeing loved ones difficult if not impossible for many since Covid-19 hit the UK.

For elderly relatives, care home residents and those shielding, the situation has been even more heartbreaking and lonely.

But 26-year-old Lucy Mein from Edinburgh has managed to find a unique way of staying in touch with her 86-year-old grandmother who lives hundreds of miles away in Northampton.

It has even brought them closer as they share an old-fashioned way of communicating.

Lucy's gran Margaret is 86 years old and deaf.

Image source, Lucy Mein
Image caption,
Lucy shared one of her paintings on social media and attracted dozens of compliments for the sweet gesture for her grandmother

During lockdown the family tried Zoom calls but they frustrated Margaret as she couldn't hear them. She was also not able to have visitors.

Lucy started painting her gran a picture every Sunday and writing up her weekly news.

Margaret would then send letter back by the following Friday and the pair became pen-pals.

Lucy told BBC 5 Live's Drive programme: "It's like sending love in an envelope."

Image source, Lucy Mein
Image caption,
Lucy now treasures her letters from Margaret

The idea started with a birthday card at the end of the summer.

Lucy said: "I sent my grandma a birthday card, and she sent me a 'thank you' letter.

"She lives with my grandpa and has struggled in lockdown.

"I always felt connected to her by writing. She writes really well and it's lovely to receive those letters. I just wanted to send her something that would cheer her up."

Margaret loves handmade things and the pair have always made and sent handmade birthday cards to each other.

Lucy's husband suggested she keep it up.

She said: "So now I just send her a letter and draw something every week.

"There's a massive geographical gap between us with me in Scotland, her in Northampton. So it's really important for me to keep in touch somehow because I haven't seen her since Christmas."

Image source, Lucy Mein
Image caption,
One of Lucy's paintings for her grandmother

Lucy is training to be an architect and she started painting for the first time since high school during lockdown, mainly to get away from her computer. She says she has fallen back in love with it.

She paints with watercolours and has sent Margaret, landscapes, nature scenes, bible verses and anything that pops into her head.

And she thinks anyone can do the same to create a special bond with a loved one.

She said: "I have loved getting those letters. I keep them in a drawer and feel properly connected and like I can share my life with her and it has deepened our relationship.

"I can't recommend doing this enough to people. It has been a lovely thing to do at such a difficult time."

Image source, Lucy Mein
Image caption,
Lucy said she hadn't drawn or painted for years and enjoyed doing it for her beloved grandma