A MOTHER'S decision to send her three children to live with their grandparents during the coronavirus pandemic was one of the toughest of her life.

But for Nicola Jones it was a sacrifice worth making to keep them together and safe while she continued to work as a community nurse, treating vulnerable patients in their own homes.

"It was a decision I didn't take lightly. It has been really hard. But I understand that everyone is in a similar position, everyone is missing someone," she said.

The 30-year-old lives in Peterlee and when lockdown loomed she made the call to send Lacey, nine, Charlie, six and then eight-month-old Amelia to their grandparents.

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And Chris and Colleen Moss were more than happy to have the trio over for the longest sleepover yet.

With the couple's tattoo shop, K2 Body Art, in Richmond, shut they spent ten weeks holed up at their home Low Thornberry Farm, near Bowes, in Teesdale.

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Nicola's mother, Colleen Moss, said: "They often go to Nicola's grandparents in Peterlee but they're shielding.

"The older two could have continued with school but they are so young, Amelia especially is in the early part of her life, so we didn't want to split them up."

Miss Jones said: "This virus is the unknown, you're going to work and out into the unknown, it is an invisible war. We wanted to keep the three of them safe and together, hopefully that's made it easier on them."

Mrs Moss, 46, said: "We've been doing school work and I've definitely learnt some things, patience being one.

"We've done history and nature walks, the River Tees is on the doorstep so they've learnt to kayak, done den-building, log-splitting, everything you can imagine – things they've talked about for days.

"We've had some brilliant adventures and they've learnt some great life-lessons.

"There have been difficult days – on the phone crying to Mam, missing her and wanting to go home – but we hope to have made some amazing memories."

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With restrictions easing and Amelia's nursery reopened, Miss Jones has been reunited with her children. Amelia is back living with her and the family has formed a 'support bubble' so they can share family time in person and not just over the phone or internet.

Mrs Moss added: "We're all so very proud of Nicola, she's amazing. It was a big sacrifice to put others first."

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