It was the day Torquay youngster Noah Loosemore finally caught up with his lockdown mate George Whigham.

Noah Loosemore and George Whigham catch up during LockdownNoah Loosemore and George Whigham catch up during Lockdown

Noah, four, and George, 82, who lives in the Warberries care home, had been meeting before the virus struck as part of an intergenerational initiative where young children visit Bay care homes.

For the months they were parted due to the shutdown and could only keep in touch online.

But now the pair have finally been reunited ‘face to face’ - albeit separated by a plastic screen and wearing a face shield.

Noah was being looked after by childminder Michelle Reeves and they have been taking part in the special Torbay Council visits programme with 15 care homes.

Lockdown called a halt to visits but some children and childminders carried on contacting residents online and via social media.

Torbay Early Years Advisory Team developed a 12-week reconnection programme suggesting different weekly activities to enable children and older adults to renew existing friendships and meet new friends.

George loved ‘meeting’ Noah again.

A spokesman at his care home said: “He has really enjoyed his contact with Noah and was very proud when Noah went to big school in September.”

Childminder Michelle said the care home residents ‘absolutely loved’ the visits from the children. She said: “It lit up their faces. It is a shame the visits had to stop during the pandemic but we managed to keep up the connections.”

Cabinet member for children’s services, Councillor Cordelia Law said: “This is such a heart-warming project offering so many social benefits for both the young children and the care home residents.

“The Early Years team have done a great job, adapting the programme around the Covid restrictions, enabling the project to start up again.”

Kay Jodrell, activities coordinator at Warberries Nursing Home which takes part in the project, said: “The benefits of the intergenerational programme so far are many and the joy on the faces of all involved is immeasurable.

“Working together using the wonderful resources available has provided hours of meaningful engagement and fun.

We have been Skypeing and letter writing throughout the pandemic and our residents are looking forward to engaging with the children again, even if it will be via Zoom.”