The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland’s popular Christmas competition received lots of entries this year, and amongst the impressive photos, one stood out. Cathy McAllister’s picture of her mother and friend reuniting after lockdown truly captured this year’s theme of ‘Hope’.

The story behind the reunion speak to hope in even more powerful ways, as Cathy shared the history of the winning snapshot:

‘My Mum, Renee McAllister 92 years on the right) and her friend of 81 years, lily Robinson 90 years from Ballinamallard. They met at a school in Kesh County Fermanagh when Mum was evacuated from Belfast to Fermanagh in July 1940 along with all her family. They have remained friends ever since and Mum visits Fermanagh several times a year to see her. Mum and Lily thought they may not see each other again due to the pandemic and their age but thankfully they have been able to see each other when lockdown restrictions were lifted. This fun photograph depicts them having fun in Summer 2020 whilst still keeping a social distance when lockdown restrictions were lifted!’

Throughout the pandemic, hope became wishes of reunion, safety and resilience, and this moment captured is testament to that.