Five heartwarming news stories you might have missed in 2020

27 December 2020, 21:50

Some of the more heartwarming stories of a very difficult year
Some of the more heartwarming stories of a very difficult year. Picture: PA/DorsetCountyHospital

By Megan White

2020 has been a difficult year, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing millions of people across the world to stay at home without friends and family.

It might have seemed all doom and gloom, but here are five heartwarming stories you might have missed over the past 12 months:

Heartwarming scenes as Italians in isolation sing together from balconies

Back in March, as the first wave of lockdowns began, Italians took action against coronavirus-induced cabin fever by singing traditional and patriotic songs together from their balconies.

Footage came from the Mediterranean country of people standing out on their balconies singing the Italian national anthem "Il Canto degli Italiani" together.

The events were seen nationwide form Sicily to Milan where the scenes went viral, showing a remarkable insight into the Italian spirit in such a tough time for those in the country.

People of all generations took to their balconies to join the fun, with people even taking musical instruments into the mix.

Wild goats take over Welsh town as coronavirus lockdown leaves streets empty

In September, a herd of wild goats defied government orders on socially distancing to invade a town in north Wales.

Llandudno usually has enough hustle and bustle to keep the animals in their usual grazing grounds in the surrounding countryside.

But as residents kept to their homes to help halt the spread of coronavirus, the cheeky creatures wandered further into the town than ever before.

Officers tried to coral the animals back to the countryside, but their efforts had little effect on the goat gang's attitude, and they simply walked back into town the following day to wreak yet more havoc.

Owl rescued from New York Christmas tree returns to the wild

An owl that was rescued from the Rockefeller Centre Christmas tree has been released back into the wild.

Rocky was uninjured but had not eaten for at least three days when she was discovered in November.

The tiny Saw-whet owl was named Rockefeller – Rocky for short – after it was found by a worker setting up the tree on November 16 at the Manhattan complex.

The owl was apparently trapped in the 75ft Norway spruce when it was cut down 170 miles north, in New York on November 12.

The female owl, initially thought to be male, was uninjured but had not eaten for at least three days when she was discovered and sent to Ravensbeard Wildlife Centre in the Hudson Valley town of Saugerties.

There, a rehabilitator nursed her back to health for a week with plenty of mice before Rocky was cleared to continue her migratory journey south.

A Secret in the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Ravensbeard is excited to share a rare Holiday story with you. ...

Posted by Ravensbeard Wildlife Center on Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Dog reunited with owners three years after going missing

In December, a dog was reunited with its owners in the United States after going missing for more than three years.

Lola, a black Labrador, vanished from a fenced garden in 2017 when Debra and Steve Mejeur, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, were visiting a friend in Illinois.

The couple returned to the Chicago suburb of Elk Grove Village for about a month after Lola went missing. They posted notices, got help from volunteers and hired a professional pet searcher. But they had no luck finding their pet.

Debra Mejeur hugs her dog Lola after being reunited with her
Debra Mejeur hugs her dog Lola after being reunited with her. Picture: PA

But earlier this month, authorities in DuPage County, Illinois, received a call from a couple who had noticed Lola over the past few years.

They had been leaving food for the dog and earned her trust, before a microchip revealed Lola’s owners.

“I feel like I’m in a dream right now,” Mrs Mejeur said when the couple were reunited with Lola at DuPage County Animal Services.

“I still had an ounce of hope, I guess, but the majority of me was thinking she had already crossed the rainbow bridge. I was just completely stunned.”

Christmas bells jingle after campaign to combat loneliness

People across the UK stepped out of their homes for a Christmas Eve bell-ringing session after one woman's campaign went viral.

The initiative was launched on Facebook by Mary Beggs-Reid from Harrogate in North Yorkshire and has since received the backing of famous names such as fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore, actor Michael Sheen and even Boris Johnson.

The two-minute event saw many families head out on to the doorstep to jingle bells in solidarity with those spending Christmas alone.

Posting on Facebook before the event, Ms Beggs-Reid wrote: "We can not physically be together but we can ring together! A chance for us to feel connected and have a happy memory of 2020."

Among those to take part were staff at Dorset County Hospital, which tweeted: "We're ending 2020 with a bit of magic, hope and togetherness!"

Meanwhile, dramatic scenes on a street in Egremont in Cumbria saw neighbours line the pavements as a motorcade of festively decorated lorries drove past.

Others used the event to say thank you to frontline workers.

Ms Beggs-Reid's campaign started as a Facebook group which has since attracted nearly 500,000 likes, eventually prompting the Prime Minister to get in touch.

Mrs Beggs-Reid, a 41-year-old estate agent, said: "I think it's fantastic that the Prime Minister is getting behind an everyday mum like me and trying to help communities as much as we can."

She added: "Especially with the recent news, this is more needed now than ever."