Friends reunited: Best pals of 60 years back together

June Crawford and Ella Boyle hug each other for the first time since being separated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Two best friends for 60 years have been reunited for the first time since the pandemic began.

June Crawford and Ella Boyle were neighbours in Renfrewshire until Ella had to move into a care home in Greenock, Inverclyde.

They had been limited to speaking on the phone for most of the year – until a new testing scheme was piloted, allowing them to enjoy a hug earlier this week.

June was tested for coronavirus on Tuesday and was able to visit her friend on Thursday after getting a clean bill of health.

“This means everything, absolutely everything,” June told STV News as she was reunited with Ella.

“She just wants me there beside her and this is the next best thing.”

Both June and Ella are in their 90s and are very aware of the time they have left together.

“Do you want to know my biggest fear?” said June. “That she wouldn’t survive it. I’ve had to do a lot over the phone, just egging her on.”

As she arrived at Bagatelle care home, June was kitted out in full PPE, with surgical mask, gown and gloves.

Her temperature was taken and she had to answer a few questions before she could see Ella.

Both women couldn’t stop themselves from crying as they were reunited under the watchful eye of emotional carers and staff.

However, despite the touching moment, care chiefs have warned that the pandemic continues to affect the most vulnerable people in society.

On the same day the best friends got back together, the Crown Office announced an investigation into deaths at Inchmarlo House care home, near Banchory, and Deeside care home in Cults.

Meanwhile, in Dunfermline, Fife, this week, a number of residents died at Canmore Lodge care home

“I personally would ask that the public don’t let their guard down yet,” said Karen Hedges, director of Scottish Care.

“If we can keep the coronavirus rate down in our communities, that will keep it out of our care homes, so we can see more happy reunions.”

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