Woman's grief over an M&S Christmas jumper triggers online outpouring of heartwarming memories

Eleanor Steafel
The M&S jumper sparked an online wave of grief - PA

It can be the smallest thing that sets you off. The smell of bacon frying, or the theme tune to Match of the Day. For Rachael Prior, it was a bright red M&S jumper. 

Picking up the cosy knit in the menswear department, Rachael experienced a sudden wave of grief for her late father, Lynton, who had died 10 years earlier. "I'd have picked it for him and I could imagine his face in that moment," she told the BBC. 

She posted on Twitter: "Nowhere and no time do I miss my dad more acutely than in the men's department of M&S at Christmas". 

It quickly went viral, with over 2000 people commenting on it with their own stories of the little things which can trigger a wave of sadness at this time of year. 

J K Rowling, Alison Moyet and James Corden were among the more famous names to retweet and share their own stories.

Singer Moyet wrote: 

Corden shared the thread, saying: "It will warm your heart. Beautiful"

Meanwhile JK Rowling joined in, saying the outpouring of memories showed how "Twitter really is wonderful sometimes".

Rachael's tweet was seen by people who had been taught by her schoolteacher dad years ago, with many of them sharing moving anecdotes about him. 

One wrote: "I had the time of my life at that school, it was everything that a primary school should be. Your dad was a huge part of that. Also, his assemblies were legendary. He was a lovely, lovely man."

People also shared their own experiences, with many citing the smell of aftershave, tea or tobacco as the thing that always triggers them to remember a loved one.

Rachael told the BBC: "It was nice to share my moment. Twitter has felt like a place overwhelmed by politics of hate, so this thread reminded me why I joined. It can be a place where people come together and support each other.

"Everyone can connect to the loss of a loved one."