A WEST Belfast social media star and his 83-year-old grandmother have found themselves playing a vital, and starring role in Translink’s latest safety film to maintain social distancing at bus and train stops as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

Conor Captain and his grandmother Joanie McCoubrey’s call is, ‘Play Your Part and Don’t Be A Melter’ in order to help the city recover from the Coronavirus and protect everyone in the community, especially the elderly and most vulnerable. Their message, along with comedian Tim McGarry, Gaeilgeoir Emer Enright, boxer James Tennyson and panto legend May McFettridge is part of Translink’s wider ‘Let’s Go Safely Together’ campaign.

A support worker for adults with learning difficulties, Conor, whose Tiktok and Instagram profiles boast thousands of followers, spoke of how he “couldn’t believe it” when the Translink team got in touch with him to become part of their project. 

“Over the years I’ve been posting videos of my granny as she is just so naturally funny, this really took off during lockdown and I started up an Instagram page of the two of us and that is when I got the message from Translink asking us to appear as part of the recent campaign. 

“Their team came out to my house and filmed what they needed out the back – with all social distancing measures in place – and it was great to see it go live,” he said.

“Joanie is my granny as well as my godmother and always introduces me first and foremost, as ‘this is my godson’,” he laughed. “I’ve been capturing funny videos with Joanie through to her talking about my late granda Joseph, he passed away in 1994; he was 54 so quite young. She had ten kids and would talk away about that as well as growing up. Joanie has been shielding throughout the Covid-19 crisis and hadn’t been out of the house, it was great for both of us to be able to do this.”

He continued: “We couldn’t believe it when Translink got in touch about appearing in the campaign. My granny is always up for the craic, she is very quick-witted so of course we said we would do it. 

“I’ve been keeping occupied during lockdown; I’m the type of person who is always on the go. My granny lives with my uncle so I’ve been going round to see her. At the start of lockdown she was okay, but towards the end it was getting to the stage where she needed to get out and back to her routine. My granny would have gone to Sainsbury’s and Greggs in the Kennedy Centre every Monday, without fail with my aunts who did her shopping while she sat and chatted. She went to bingo and Mass every Saturday but that all stopped during lockdown. With the videos we are creating something to look back on.

“The Translink message was really important, especially in terms of the Glider, as everybody needs the service from the oldest to the youngest.”

A spokesperson for Translink added: “Translink with the support of community groups and famous faces is asking young people not to travel in large groups and keep social distancing particularly at bus and train stops and on-board public transport. The call is simple – Play Your Part and Don’t Be A Melter.”

Visit Translink.co.uk for more information.