2020: The heart-warming stories that kept us going

Credit: ITV News / PA / Stuart Walker

It's safe to say the pandemic has impacted everyone's lives in some way over the last year. With unprecedented times came creativity, camaraderie, and truly heart-warming stories from across our region.

From a primary schools learning hit songs in sign language to community heroes feeding those most in need - here's some of the stories that brought joy during life under coronavirus restrictions.

1. Meet the Penrith postman doing his rounds in fancy dress to lift spirits

For many families, a postman was the only person they seen every day during the lockdown, and one made it his mission to make it special.

Penrith postman, Simon Richardson, has become a legend in his community by bringing a smile to people's faces during this tough year.

After seeing the mood the customers on his rounds change after the lockdown, Simon came up with a plan to make each day brighter for everyone he sees.

The 40-year-old started to dress-up as a postbox while delivering his letters - and boy, did it work!

2. The Dalbeattie granny's viral lockdown song

Jessie Boardman, 90, from Dalbeattie, in Dumfries & Galloway, found a special way to thank all NHS workers across the country during the first lockdown. She sang an incredible rendition of Vera Lynne's "we'll meet again" on the street outside of her house.

We shared this clip on our social media and it already has hundreds of thousands of views, with many asking Jessie to record more videos of her singing.

3. Superhero Steve

Community hero Steve Carney, who owns Old Hall Cafe in Carlisle, was one of many people in our region who helped his community.

He had a contract to provide meals for his former school next door. When schools closed because of the coronavirus, he kept his kitchen open to make sure children in his local area still got a hot lunch.

The team in the kitchen along with a tribe of volunteers spent weeks cooking and delivering the meals to families.

4. Police officer sings happy birthday to seven-year-old in lockdown

When one police officer found out a seven-year-old was in lockdown on his birthday, he decided to try and cheer him up a bit.

PC Wallbank, of Barrow Police, took time away from his shift to sing "Happy Birthday" to the young boy who was stuck inside.

Wallbank sang to him from the street outside his house and even gave him a present before getting back into his police car and driving away. The viral clip was watched by millions.

5. Cumbrian photographer captures life during the pandemic

On the 100th day of lockdown, we reflected how the pandemic has changed our whole way of life.

In fact, it happened so quickly it can be easy to forget what a historic time we are living through.

Cumbrian press photographer, Stuart Walker, decided it was his duty to preserve these important memories for future generations, by taking pictures of how our region has responded.

6. Cumbria's NHS staff praise public's helping hand

During the first lockdown, every Thursday people came out onto their front doors and clapped for the NHS and care workers.

To thank them for their continued support, NHS staff from the West Cumberland Hospital and the Cumberland Infirmary recorded messages of thanks. They told ITV Border that the weekly applause is kept their spirits high and motivated them to carry on.

7. Teenager reunites Australian airman's dog tag with his family

In July, a teenager from Askham-in-Furness reunited an identity tag from an Australian airman with his family.

Warrant Officer William Earnest Wills is believed to have trained up the fell Black Combe while based at Haverigg during the Second World War. His dog tags were long lost until one walker, Max Hazlehurst, discovered them. He made it his mission to find his family and return them.

Max sent the dog tags back to the family in Australia. Credit: ITV News

8. 'Woof' mission for Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team

With lockdown restrictions eased, walkers took to the Lake District. In July, Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team were faced with a different sort of mission when a 55kg St Bernard decided she was going no further on a descent from Scafell Pike.

Not knowing how to get their beloved pet, Daisy, off the fell, her owners called for assistance from the volunteers who were happy to help. The exhausted pooch was stretched off the mountain.

9. Primary school kids learn 'Greatest Showman' hit in sign language

A Cumbrian primary school found a way around the singing ban during coronavirus restrictions - by learning a smash hit in sign language instead.

The video Longown Primary School, near Carlisle, showed kids enthusiastically signing along to the Greatest Showman song 'This is Me'. Have a watch....

10. From Moffat to Solihull

The challenging times brought out the kindness in people across the Border region and beyond.

One of the most heart-warming stories to surface this year told the tale of two people from opposite ends of the country who came together to tend one another's family graves after Covid-19 restrictions stopped them from travelling.

After putting a plea out on social media, Jason Bassett - a funeral director from Dumfries - was shocked to get an offer from someone in the same position.

Christine Hastie, from the Midlands, asked if he could do the same for her in Moffat - swapping normal arrangements so their parents can still be remembered at Christmas.