Watch as this South Tyneside great grandad gets the greatest present ever - all of his family 'together'
A South Shields great granddad got the best present he has ever had – and here is the moment when he received it.
Stanley Harrison, 89, had not seen all of his family together for a year because of the pandemic.
But that changed in the sweetest of ways at Christmas when his family put together a huge collage photo of them all.
Every branch of the family had their own photo taken before Fiona Nicholl of Purple Pomegranate Photography Studios, combined them all in a stunning family portrait.
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And when the father of three, granddad of five and great grandfather of one saw it for the first time, he said he was totally thrilled.
Daughter Gillian Napier was the brainchild behind the gift for her dad who lives near Horsley Hill and who has stuck by the pandemic rules ever since Covid-19 hit the UK.
His family lives across the North East in South Shields, Cleadon, West Boldon, and Newcastle.
Gillian said: “We usually have several extended family gatherings a year such as Christmas, Easter, and dad’s birthday but our last major get together was Christmas 2019. Then we had lockdown.
"Our extended family unit contains over 80s, over 60s, someone shielding, and my sister works in a care home for the elderly. So we have had to be very careful during this crisis.
“Stan lives alone, independently, and formed a bubble with Thelma (his companion).”
Gillian added: “He still shops and cooks for himself. We had to read the riot act to keep him in at the beginning of the first lockdown. He is a familiar (now masked!) figure around town on his mobility scooter. A bit of a change from his younger years as a motor cycle enthusiast.
“He was a painter and decorator in his youth, then went into domestic appliance spares in the days when people fixed their domestic appliances.”
Gillian added: “Dad has kept in touch with the family by phone, and doorstep and garden visits when allowed.”
But Stanley has one big wish during the pandemic.
Gillian explained: "He kept saying all he wanted was to see his family together so we organised the photograph. Fiona is a professional photographer with Purple Pomegranate Photography and earlier in the year, when Covid restrictions allowed, we all went separately (with pets) to the studio in our units/bubbles to have the shots taken. She then joined them altogether.
"Stan thought we were helping Fiona practise her lighting technique. The idea came from the way school class photos are taken nowadays.
“We didn’t spend Christmas together, but in much smaller family units/bubbles. Dad was with Thelma and was totally thrilled with his gift when he received it. ‘Best present ever!’ he said.
"He has had his first Covid vaccination and can’t wait for the second so he can carry on living. Just wish I could keep up with him.”
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