Pensioners sent a hate letter after clapping for the NHS cried tears of joy on their Exmouth doorstep when paramedics and strangers turned up to applaud with them.
Marion and Jock Roberston, of Churchill Road, Brixington, were targeted this week after they left their home for a short seafront drive, returning to find the handwritten note pushed through their front door, calling the couple ‘fu****g pr**ks’ and ‘tw*ts’ for the way they clap on Thursdays.
After last night’s clapping had died down, Jock, aged 80, was seen at his window raising a glass to thank the well-wishers who had rallied round to join the couple.
Granddaughter Donna Gover, who also lives in Churchill Road, said her family had been ‘overwhelmed’ by the kindness and care shown to her grandparents since the hate-filled letter was received.
She said the kindness of the community had taken away the hurt caused by the foul-mouthed poison pen letter, slammed as ‘cowardly’ by Marion and Jock’s family.
Donna said: “I want to say a massive thank you – words don’t cover it, they really don’t.
“I have forgotten the letter exists. I am overwhelmed that people have supported them. The letter doesn’t matter anymore.”
Strangers were heard shouting kind messages to the couple as they waited for last night’s clap for the NHS to start.
NHS paramedics drove to the couple’s street and joined the throng, turning their own applause to face Marion and Jock when the clapping began.
Donna said: “I spoke to my nan and grandad late last night. They shed some tears on the doorstep.
“My granddad went to the window and I saw him raise a glass. It was just lovely.
“I was videoing on my doorstep, with tears rolling down my face.”
She added: “Everybody was so nice. I am absolutely overwhelmed by it to be honest.
“It was emotional. It was a clap for the NHS, but the support was for my grandparents.
“I didn’t expect the support they got. It was absolutely phenomenal.
“They are in awe at the moment. They could see that people are thinking about them. It was just amazing.”
“They were very emotional. When my nan first came out and the ambulance pulled up the road and she saw the paramedics, I turned and said ‘that’s for you’. And she had this big smile.
“The paramedics clapped facing towards them. It was an amazing happy ending.”
Donna had invited people to support her grandparents by clapping with the family in their street while keeping a safe distance.
She said: “Something so nasty has had the complete opposite effect. It’s made the whole community come out and made people who maybe haven’t come out on their doorstep yet, come out.”
Because of the coronavirus lockdown the elderly couple, who have lived at their home since 1967, have had little or no contact with family for 10 weeks, other than waving at each other from the doorstep, or closed window.
They recently began taking short drives along Exmouth seafront to take in the fresh air. When they left their home on Tuesday, they returned to find a hate-filled note scrawled on an envelope had been pushed through their front door.
When the letter arrived at the elderly couple’s Exmouth home, Marion had thought it was for someone else, because the sender had spelled her name wrong.
On April 28 Marion and Jock celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary under lockdown, without any family, friends, or big party to celebrate their milestone marriage.