A FLORIST has spoken of the heartache of delivering sympathy flowers to people who have lost love ones in the coronavirus pandemic.

Sarah Smith, 43, owns Flowers By Sarah Ann, in Heybridge.

She moved her business online after closing her store when the UK-wide lockdown was enforced.

The mum-of-two was unsure of the future of her business so decided to go online to accept Interflora orders.

Sarah said: “I’m delivering around 50 per cent more Interflora orders a day than I was before lockdown – the demand has been huge.

“I now create all the bouquets in the morning and then deliver them all myself in the afternoon when my husband gets up and has the boys.

“It’s not until you go out delivering the flowers that you realise just how many people around you are suffering.

“We can’t offer them a hug but we can give a few kind words.

“Many flowers are being sent for very sad reasons.

“People are emotional when they get them and obviously very affected by what’s going on.

“I’m checking on people as I do deliveries – that they’re okay and offering to do people’s shopping or pick up things for them.

“Sometimes I think I’m the only person they’ve seen in days.

“I’ve seen some sad things.

“One day I’m dropping off ‘thinking of you’ flowers to someone and then a week or so later it’s sympathy flowers.

“They’ve clearly lost someone dear to this awful virus.”

Despite the sadness, Sarah has seen some positives in the sense of community she has seen, and her twin boys have been helping.

She said: “They are helping unpack deliveries, tidy the shop and sorting things out like the message cards.

“They’re dying to get more involved by cutting flowers too, but they obviously can’t do things like that.

“Instead of teaching them phonics and maths, I’m teaching them flower names and they know them all now. “They can build an Interflora gift box to perfection!

“They’ve been so good and they are having fun.

“This virus has brought out the best in people and you can see it all around you in the local community.

“I have been leaving the shop every day feeling helpless, but if I have brought a little smile to some people’s faces with flowers in all of this then I’m happy.”