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Cleo's special message gets national airing

The coronavirus lockdown has caused disruption and upset for many people. East Midlands Mensan Phil Jones found himself isolated from his granddaughter Cleo on her first birthday - so he wrote her a letter instead, and read it out on BBC Radio 4's PM programme.

Phil, from Matlock in Derbyshire, said: "I wrote a letter to my granddaughter on her first birthday, which happened to fall on Easter Sunday.

"I copied the letter to the BBC's Radio 4 PM programme, who got in touch about it. They invited me to read the letter on air on the Easter Monday PM programme, which I did.

"The BBC also contacted me to say that "some or all" of the letter will also appear in Radio 4's Pick of the Week programme."

Phil, pictured with Cleo pre-lockdown, added: "My wife and I did get to Skype Cleo on her birthday, so we were able to have a virtual celebration together!"

In the letter, Phil tells Cleo about all the disruption and upset the virus has caused, and the birthday celebrations her wider family had to miss out on, but expresses his hope that the little girl herself remains blissfully unaware of everything that is going on.

He also looks forward to the kind of future world Cleo could grow up in, in the wake of the seismic societal changes that the pandemic might bring with it. 

To listen to Phil's letter to Cleo as it was broadcast on the PM programme, click the link below.