Christmas cards for a hero: hundreds back appeal for lonely Norfolk veteran

World War Two veteran John Lister.
World War Two veteran John Lister. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Christmas cards from across the world are now on the way to a 101-year-old war veteran who was left lonely and grieving after losing his wife to coronavirus.

John Lister, who served as a gunner in World War Two, caught coronavirus in March alongside his wife Ella.

Days after testing positive, his childhood sweetheart and companion for more than 70 years died in hospital.

Norfolk war veteran, 101, describes loneliness after losing wife to coronavirus

Speaking from his care home in Griston, near Thetford, John told ITV News Anglia about the pain of the pandemic and isolation.

"It's being lonely," he said. "I mean sometimes I'm in my room and the only time I see anyone is when they bring my meals."

John Lister and his wife Ella. Credit: ITV News Anglia

His interview, which was broadcast last week (Dec 11), sparked an overwhelming reaction and outpouring of sympathy.

Hundreds responded to an online appeal to send him Christmas cards.

Within hours, people who'd seen the post online pledged to send Christmas greetings from Canada, America and Australia.

And viewers from all over the UK vowed to post cards.

One, Hayley Attew, wrote: "My children decorated a card today and sent it. I really hope he doesn't feel lonely with what will hopefully be an influx of well wishes and kindness sent to him by everyone.

"This story has made us think about things, so my family are going to write to a few care homes asking if they have anyone that would like to become our penpal/friend. No one should feel lonely."

John, who is a lifelong Norwich City fan, will also be receiving a Christmas treat from the Canaries.

Goalkeeper Tim Krul said: "We have to be reminded sometimes how many people are going through stuff like this."Hopefully with a little gesture, we can make it a little better."

If you'd like to send John a Christmas card, the address is:

John Lister,Thorp House Nursing Home,Church Road,Griston,Norfolk,IP25 6QA.