I hope that I’ll have people who make sure I’m okay

Reaching boiling point!

ZELLA COMPTON: Too many cheery reminders of just how special I am ...

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A month ago to this very day I moved house, into a little two-bed terraced home that I can call my


Anyway, this week, parking in Portsmouth being what it is, I had to pull up outside my opposite neighbour’s house.

He came out of his front door and me, being the epitome of loveliness that I am, thought I should go over and introduce myself.

Me? Talk to a stranger? The man looked as if he thought I must be insane and/or going to murder his family at the next opportunity.

This is a person I live 10 steps away from, and will until one of us moves, looking at me as though I’m mad for even thinking of speaking to him.

Thankfully, though, it seems some of my other Portsmouth neighbours don’t share those same feelings.

On Thursday last week almost 300 of them turned up to the funeral of a man they had never met, to pay tribute to the service he gave this country whilst in the Royal Marines.

Jimmy McConnell died in the Bluebell Nursing Home after getting a chest infection.

He had had a stroke, so couldn’t really talk, but arrived with his beret, his medals and pictures of the Falkland Islands.

He had no known family and, dismayed that the only mourners at his funeral would be the care home staff, the man who was going to conduct the graveside service, Rev Bob Mason, put a call out for other servicemen and women to attend.

And they did, in their droves, paying silent tribute to a man they had never met, who they couldn’t be sure had even been in the services, but who nonetheless deserved someone to mind that he’d gone.

I only hope that he was not alone for all his days.

That the person who took the picture of him that appeared on the front page of The News was not the only person to have his photo.

I hope that he had a loving family, a legion of friends and good neighbours who looked out for him to make sure he was okay.

And I hope one day that I’ll have neighbours who do the same.