Julia Harrison (right) and Sarah Payne (left) meet up for the first time in a year for a small picnic.

Lockdown easing: Peterborough friends meet after a year one of many reunions following regulations change

Two friends from Peterborough are among a number of those reunited in the city yesterday (March 8) after the first easing of lockdown restrictions.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 3:15 pm

From Monday, a change to the restrictions meant that it is once again legal for people to meet outside with one other person, not from their household, for recreation.

Amongst those to take advantage of the new freedoms were friends of 10 years, Sarah Payne and Julia Harrison, who had not seen each other in over a year.

The pair brought their own picnic, consisting of sandwiches, pork pies and a homemade victoria sponge to Central Park and enjoyed them socially distanced on quilts knitted by Sarah.

Sarah’s creations have seen her nominated for Favourite Sewing Book of 2019/2020 and Most Influential Sewing Personality in the British Sewing Awards in 2020.

Julia is the President of the Women’s Institute in Hampton and that is how the friends met.

Sally said: “We’ve had afternoon tea on Zoom a couple of times but it’s just not the same. It’s so nice to be out again and meeting with someone else besides our partners, we’ve got a year’s worth of catching up to get through!

“Normally we would meet up for a coffee once a fortnight at our local coffee shop, Chimes at CSK Church, and have a good gossip.

“We’ve seen so many people catching up, most of them left when it got a bit cold and hinted at rain but not us, we’ve got our blankets and I just really want to see my friend!”

Elsewhere in the park, the Peterborough Telegraph found friends Chris Atkinson and Clare Duffy from New England having a catch-up.

Chris’ wife Samantha was also able to see her parents, Christine and Alan, outside The Willow Cafe.

Chris, who was also joined by his dog Kody, said: “I’ve known Clare for about 14 years. She was originally a friend of my wife’s and I got to know her after I moved from near Pontefract in West Yorkshire.

“We sometimes see each other on dog walks but it’s nice to be allowed to sit down and share a coffee. It seems as if there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

“Normally we’d all meet up and all have a meal together, I can’t wait to get back to that but this has got me looking forward to when my daughter and grandchildren are able to come down from Yorkshire and visit.”

Work colleagues Emma Morton and Lisa Clissett also took a break from the home office to have a catch up. The pair have known each other for many years after working together at both Peterborough City Council and, at the moment, the National Literacy Trust.

Emma said: “It’s was amazing to have a coffee and a catch up today. Lisa and I have known each other for years. We’ve worked closely for so many years and I’m excited to both be able to meet up with her again and carry on working together.”

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