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Christmas came early for 101-year-old John Lister who was granted his festive wish of a trip down memory lane

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The home’s wellbeing coordinator Marcia Hughes, who accompanied him, said: “The trip was the perfect tonic for John who has been looking forward to it for days.

“The past eight months has been a tough time for all our residents who have been unable to see their families for long periods due to the pandemic.

“John is a Normandy veteran, who landed in France hours after the first D-Day landings, and yet he says the coronavirus lockdown has been more difficult for him to bear than the war.”

Mr Lister, a lifelong Norwich City fan, has lived and worked in Norfolk all his life and liked nothing better than visiting the county’s varied pubs with his beloved wife Ella, who sadly died from Covid early in the pandemic, months after their 70th wedding anniversary.

The round trip starting at Thorp House, in Church Road, saw Mr Lister greeted at the end of the road to flags waved by family members.

The first stop was in Hingham for a socially distanced chat with his brother Robert “Lud” Lister, 93, who was waiting outside his house with his daughter Mary - John’s niece - and her husband Michael.

It was the first time they had seen each other since February.

Mrs Hughes said: “Michael commented that he was still using the orange Flymo lawn mower that John had sold him for £60 and that made John smile.”

The journey continued towards Deopham, passing Deopham Mill where he recalled picking wild water cress.

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They travelled along Money Hill Lane looking at the fields that he used to plough on his tractor when he worked at Norfolk Agricultural Station, an experimental farm near Morley.

They turned right at Spring Corner where he remembered the spring flowers in abundance, along Cadges Lane and past Hightree House where he used to do the gardening.

They arrived at the bungalow, Sheralee, in Deopham Green, which he built with his brothers in the 1960s with change from £2000.

"It took us a year though, as we were a few bricks short," he recalled.

Before returning to Thorp House, Mr Lister was glad to stop in Deopham outside the pub The Half Moon, long since turned into a private home.

Mrs Hughes said: “John and his wife ran the pub for several years. He recalled selling pints for four old pence at a time.”

She said the trip had been a great success and John had a wonderful time reminiscing.

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