Plea to flood Blackpool centenarian with cards during hospital recovery to brighten her day

A doting granddaughter is hoping kind-hearted members of the public will send cards to her 101-year-old grandma, to bring her some joy while she recovers from cellulitis in hospital.

By Rebecca Beardmore
Monday, 30th August 2021, 4:55 am

The plea comes from Sharon Sanderson-Roberts, 49, of Hawes Side Lane in South Shore, who is unable to visit her grandma Edith Wilkinson, 101, due to Covid rules in place at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Sharon hoped that her grandma's hospital stay would be made more bearable if she were to receive well-wishes from members of the public, and appealed for cards to be sent to her.

Mrs Wilkinson recently injured her leg which turned into a blood clot and cellulitis around a month ago.

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Edith Wilkinson, 101, is recovering in hospital from cellulitis, and her granddaughter Sharon is hoping members of the public will flood her home with well-wishes. Pic: Sharon Sanderson-Roberts

She was taken to the Vic by ambulance on Friday, August 20, where she remains in a bay "with no TV" and only one visitor a day.

Sharon said: "I couldn't get a face-to-face appointment at the doctor's for my nana for weeks, and her blood clot turned into cellulitis which she's had for about four weeks now.

"She's on antibiotics at the moment, but the doctors said she could be in hospital for a few more weeks yet.

"She's on her own in there and she gets quite confused sometimes, the hospital rang my daughter at 2am one morning to speak to her because she woke up a bit confused about where she was. She has dementia and gets a bit forgetful, but Lauren visits her every day because she needs that continuity of care."

Edith is currently in Blackpool Victoria Hospital, where she is only able to have visits from her great-granddaughter Lauren (pictured). Pic: Sharon Sanderson-Roberts

Sharon's appeal was backed by Blackpool Councillor Graham Baker, who said he hoped Edith would soon be moved to a ward and that the public would get on board with showering her with well-wishes.

Coun Baker is currently self-isolating after testing positive for Covid, but said he would be joining in with the appeal by arranging for a digital card to be sent to Edith, wishing her well.

Coun Baker said: "I would love to be able to send a card, but unfortunately at the moment it's not practical for me to do so as I'm self-isolating with Covid.

"But I would encourage as many people as possible to do so, provided you can do it safely and aren't self-isolating."

Edith Wilkinson with her daughter Jean, granddaughter Sharon, and great-granddaughter Lauren. Pic: Sharon Sanderson-Roberts

In July, the NHS Trust which oversees both the Vic and Clifton Hospital in St Annes suspended visiting due to a rise in Covid rates, and additional infection prevention control measures were also implemented.

Because of this, only Edith's great-granddaughter, Lauren Sanderson Roberts-Vause is able to visit her regularly as a carer.

Edith was born in Blackpool and lived with her parents and two brothers, Frank and Fred, before becoming part of the war effort and getting involved with the production of Vickers Wellington bomber planes.

At the peak of production in 1942, some 102 planes were built at Squires Gate, which were used as night bombers during the Second World War.

Edith, pictured with her older brother Frank and younger brother Fred, was born and bred in Blackpool. Pic: Sharon Sanderson-Roberts

She went on to work at the market gardens, before spending much of her adult life caring for her daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter.

Sharon said Edith had played a huge role in her life as the matriarch of the family, and described her as a "quiet, kind lady, who never raised her voice at any of them."

Edith lives with her daughter Jean Sanderson - Sharon's mum - so is used to company, but now she is on her own in hospital without her family to surround her.

Sharon continued: "She has a brilliant social life usually. All of her old friends have died now, but she goes to Warren Manor Day Centre in Anchorsholme three times a week, and she loves it there.

"Before the pandemic we would go to church and to coffee mornings, out for dinner once a week, but now she's been put in a hospital bay on her own. There's no television, and nothing on the walls.

"I just think if we can get some cards sent to her, it might brighten her room up a bit and cheer her up while she's recovering."

Charity Age UK urged the public this summer to continue supporting elderly people, as they felt the full force of the pandemic in terms of loneliness and remaining on medics' waiting lists.

The charity said it was too soon to know for certain how many older people could "bounce back" from the pandemic, and although Edith is lucky enough to have a doting family and friends around her, many other elderly people "were going to need all the help they can get."

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director, said: "Sadly, millions of older people face long periods on hospital waiting lists, often in considerable pain. Making sure these older people can access effective pain relief, for example, is a moral and medical imperative.

"Meanwhile, the rest of us should bear in mind that it may take many older people quite some time to rebuild their confidence and capacity, and we all have a part to play in helping them with this. Our message to the public this summer is please do keep supporting the older people in your lives.”

In a bid to cast the appeal out to as many people as possible, decided to take to Twitter to appeal for cards for Edith, which she also did when her grandma turned 100.

She was shocked when the appeal solicited over 600 birthday cards from kind-hearted well-wishers - and she hopes she will also be flooded with get well soon wishes this time.

"It was really funny, she went through and opened all the cards asking if we knew every single person who'd written them, but we said we didn't - they were just from really kind people," Sharon continued.

"She loves getting cards, and I think she'll be really surprised if she receives some. We had cards sent to us from all over the world when she turned 100, and it would be amazing to be able to do the same while she's in hospital."

If you would like to post a card to Edith, send one to the following address:

Mrs Edith Wilkinson

c/o 307 Hawes Side Lane