Schoolgirl’s heartfelt help for the elderly

Kind schoolgirl Ava MacIntyre, aged eight, and brother Archie, six

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An eight-year-old Oban schoolgirl has cheered up older residents with a heartfelt gesture during the coronavirus crisis.

Ava MacIntyre, a pupil of Rockfield Primary School, wanted to do something after learning at school and on children’s programme Newsround about self isolation and the elderly.

Ava found it ‘really sad’ the over-70s are being advised to ‘socially distance’ themselves by staying indoors to guard against catching the highly-contagious bug as they can be vulnerable.

Mum Jade said: ‘She is quite an emotional eight-year-old and kept talking about it. Ava said to us there’s going to be older people not going to be able to get to the shops and they might get ill.’

‘Me and her dad spoke to her and asked her if there was something she might want to do to help.’

Ava decided to write cards to people offering help and was taken around to deliver them in places including Mossfield, Glencruitten Drive and elderly residents’ homes in the town.

One of the grateful recipients was Catherine and Dougie MacGillivray, of Glencruitten Drive, who live close to Ava’s granny and grandpa Neil and Margaret.

Ava’s card offered to help pick up the retired couple’s shopping, do their post or collect any urgent supplies.

The gesture touched Mrs MacGillivray, aged 66, and husband Dougie, aged 68, who are fortunate to have family to rely on.

Catherine said: ‘My instant reaction was it was just so kind. It’s just so good to know there are young people out there thinking of others.

‘I really was touched by the kindness of someone so young. We know her grandparents very well and see Ava often. She is a very poised young lady.’

The couple sent a thank you card to Ava recognising her selflessness.

Mum Jade said another female resident, who lives on her own, had received one of Ava’s cards. She telephoned the family to thank her for being so thoughtful.

Jade and husband Aidan are very proud of their eldest as are siblings Archie, aged six, and sister Jaimee, aged two.

Brian Sloan, chief executive of Age Scotland, the national charity for older people, said being a good neighbour was vital right now.

He said gestures such as popping to the shops or picking up medication would go a long way to helping to reduce loneliness and isolation.

‘This is an opportunity to see the best of Scotland, to help and look out for another. Let’s start by supporting older family, friends and neighbours,’ said Mr Sloan.