KIND-HEARTED people of all ages across Renfrewshire have been displaying true community spirit to help others during the coronavirus crisis.

The Gazette salutes a host of local heroes who are bringing much-needed cheer to others at this difficult time.

Among them is Howwood woman Dawn Ewington, who has been leaving gifts outside her home for children to collect while taking their daily exercise.

Dawn, 50, has provided the likes of colouring books to local kids and has even painted pebbles to make them look like animals, with youngsters invited to take one of the ‘pet rocks’ as they stroll past her house.

“I’m working from home just now and there are lots of children in the village who haven’t got a lot to do,” said Dawn, who is a leader in the Brownies.

“I was going through my Brownies stuff and found lots of things I could use to cheer them up. I found a ‘Happy Birthday’ banner, so I changed it to say ‘Happy Thursday’ instead and put it up.

“It’s something the children can see when they’re out on their walks.

“I also had some leftover colouring books, so I popped them out for the kids to take away with them and it has just took off since then.

“I’ve been putting something out every day. Every so often, you can hear the wee ones outside my window, talking to their parents about it, which is nice.

“It’s just a little something to bring a bit of fun and cheer to the kids.”

Dawn’s painted pebbles have proved particularly popular.

She said: “When I’ve been out on my daily walks, I’d picked up some rocks and taken them home. Then I stuck little googly eyes on them and painted them.

“I didn’t really think they’d be a big thing but about 30 of them were taken from the basket I put outside.”

Residents in Howwood are full or praise for Dawn, who works as a nursery officer.

Nikki Macneill took to social media to hail Dawn’s efforts as “the loveliest idea ever.”

“Every day, she leaves something out in her garden for the kids,” said Nikki.

“On our walk, we pass by her house and see what’s there. It’s so heart-warming.

“What an angel she is.”

Elsewhere, Easter bunnies brought smiles to the faces of youngsters in lockdown as they delivered chocolate eggs to homes in Renfrew.

Three volunteers from the Cherrie Centre hopped in a car and drove around the Moorpark area of town at the weekend to deliver 185 tasty treats to local children.

The Gazette: Christine Laird and Karen MacCrimmon delivered sweet treatsChristine Laird and Karen MacCrimmon delivered sweet treats

Christine Laird, Alex Kenmore and Karen MacCrimmon made sure they followed social distancing guidelines and every gift was thoroughly cleaned before being placed on residents’ doorsteps.

Margaret Laird, chairperson of the Cherrie Centre, said: “They did a great job. The kids of Moorpark were over the moon and were waving at the windows when we put the eggs outside.

“This is a time when children don’t really understand what’s happening and why they’re being kept in, so it’s nice to give the kids something to smile about.”

Renfrew resident Gillian Smith hailed the Easter bunnies as “amazing.”

“It really showed what true kindness is,” she said.

The community centre, which runs a nursery, after-school care and various clubs for youngsters, decided not to let their chocolate eggs go to waste after an annual Easter-themed fun day at Knockhill Park had to be scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Margaret said: “We bought the eggs a few months ago.

“Some of the volunteers knew we had them and some Easter costumes, so they asked the committee if it would be okay to go out to deliver them.

“I’d like to say a big thanks to Zoe Taylor, who organised this event, all the volunteers and our staff who are on furlough at the moment.”

Meanwhile, foodbank staff say they have been “overwhelmed” by the generosity of local residents during the coronavirus lockdown.

Against a backdrop of panic buying, businesses closing and strict social distancing rules, Renfrewshire Foodbank has managed to continue supplying vulnerable people with essential supplies against all odds, thanks to a flood of donations from kind-hearted people.

Senior manager Elizabeth Alexander said: “People have been incredibly generous.

“I just want to say a huge thank-you to everyone in Renfrewshire. When the chips are down, they really rally round.”

Also playing her part in efforts to help others is Johnstone woman Caitlin Kelly, who has joined nearly 100 paramedic students in signing up to tackle the coronavirus crisis.

The Gazette: Paramedic student Caitlin Kelly is doing her bit to tackle the coronavirus crisisParamedic student Caitlin Kelly is doing her bit to tackle the coronavirus crisis

Caitlin, 26, is working with the Scottish Ambulance Service at the new NHS Louisa Jordan makeshift hospital at Glasgow’s SEC campus.

The third-year Glasgow Caledonian University student will be involved in delivering care to around 1,000 Covid-19 patients.

Caitlin said: “I am just so glad I can help and be involved in this emergency because it’s what I’ve worked towards for the last three years.

“I feel a little nervous, which is to be expected, but answering emergencies and never knowing what the next call is going to be is why I wanted to be a paramedic in the first place.”

Read all the latest from Renfrewshire and beyond

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