Shielding Leeds pensioner "disappointed" to see large crowds on Woodhouse Moor

A Leeds pensioner who has been shielding on and off for more than a year said she was "disappointed" to see hundreds of people on Woodhouse Moor.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 5:16 pm
Connie Cluderay

Connie Cluderay, 69, has been shielding at her home in Cookridge because she has a serious lung condition, bronchiectasis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

The instruction to shield will end tomorrow (1 April) in England, meaning around four million people will no longer be advised to stay home as much as possible.

Mrs Cluderay said she was travelling home from visiting her daughter at Leeds General Infirmary when she saw the crowds at around 6.30pm on Tuesday.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Keisha Meek

"Our daughter is currently in hospital and I was given special permission to see her, which is quite a big thing, " she said.

"On the way home Woodhouse Moor was absolutely heaving with people, mostly young people.

"There were that many cars that they were parked up on the grass verge down the side of the moor.

Massive clean-up operation by some students, residents and Leeds City Council on Woodhouse Moor, Headingley, Leeds, after hundreds of people gathered yesterday March 30) to enjoy the warm weather and into the evening resulting in leaving behind tons of litter, bottles, food, disposable barbecue and hundreds of used nitrous oxide canisters (laughing gas). Photo: James Hardisty

"There were barbecues and hundreds of people.

"I said to my husband that I have stayed in for a year, doing my best, and the minute restrictions lift some people seem to think it's OK to go back to normal.

"I was disappointed. The restrictions have literally only just been lifted - It was the sheer numbers of them."

Mrs Cluderay, who could not leave her house and garden for four months from March 2020, said all she has done during periods when shielding restrictions were lifted is occasionally go to a shop and go for walks.

She said the ending of the instruction to shield will make a "slight difference" for her.

"I will be making efforts to try and do a little bit more to go out and about, but I'm still going to be very careful, " she said.

"I'm still going to be getting my shopping delivered because I want to try and stay away from the supermarkets if I can."

Mrs Cluderay said she will be going for walks and hopes to be able to return to her twice weekly gym health classes from April 12.

She said: "Even if they said I could go to a pub or a restaurant, I wouldn't feel comfortable to do that at the moment.

"I'm looking forward to when I can go to restaurants and go on holiday, but not right now.

"I would go to a cafe and sit outside and have a coffee, but I won't be going inside."

Mrs Cluderay said: "can't believe 12 months has passed. I'm glad to see the back of it and hope we don't have to do it again. It has been tough."

NHS project analyst Keisha Meek, 29, who is from Kippax, suffers from a rare form of endometriosis, which is on her lungs.

Miss Meek, who has also been shielding, had her first Covid jab around two months ago, said she "definitely going to stop shielding."

Miss Meek said the isolation has impacted on her mental health and she has recently been making weekly trips out for food shopping.

Sher said: "It has been scary. Up until I had the vaccine I was panicking all the time that I would end up getting it and be poorly. It has been quite frightening.

"If I had to shield again I don't think I could do it, it's too much."

Miss Meek said she will continue to be careful, adding: "As long as I stay two metres apart from people I should be fine.

"I'm really excited to start playing rounders and meet people in the park, see my family and just having some sort of normality."