This is the heartwarming moment a couple married for 61 years celebrated moving into the same care home together with their first kiss in eight months.
Lewis Tunnicliffe, 84, and his wife Barbara, 81, had never spent longer than a few days apart and had been inseparable since they tied the knot in 1960.
But Barbara was forced to move into Bradwell Hall care home, in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs., last summer after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Due to Covid restrictions Lewis could only visit her once a week while separated by a glass screen and was unable to hug or hold her hand.
Retired car dealer Lewis has now decided to move into the same care home after suffering with ill-health himself so he can once again be with his beloved wife.
Tear-jerking footage filmed by staff captured the moving moment the pair were reunited with Lewis embracing Barbara, telling her: “You’re beautiful”.
As they hold hands and hug, Lewis says “I’ve waited so long for this” and “I’ll be stopping here now.”
Care home staff can also be seen overcome with emotion as one worker tells them: “I told you he was here…you’re together now, aren’t you?”
The couple, who met in 1958 and have two daughters and four grandchildren, had been apart since July last year.
Daughter Sam Jackson, 52, asked care home staff to film their long-awaited reunion on Friday (5/2).
She said her dad was anxious beforehand that Barbara wouldn’t recognise him and he described it as “like having their first date again.”
The married mum-of-one, from Stoke-on-Trent, said: “He was apprehensive and didn’t sleep the night before he was so nervous.
“He had a shave that morning and said it was like having a first date again.
“The girls at the home did mum’s hair and her nails. They were absolutely great.
“He has always been loved up with her since they first met when he was 20.
“It was very emotional to watch the video and bitter sweet really to have both parents in care homes.
“But we were delighted to see them back together after so long apart.
“It was wonderful to see them holding hands and smiling and so emotional.
“Now they spend all day sitting together, eating together and holding hands.
“I did ask the hall if they would video it because no family was able to be there.
“Dad has missed her so much over the summer although he has been in a bubble with my sister, he has been very lonely.”
Former NHS nurse Barbara moved into the care home eight months ago after Lewis, who also has dementia, began struggling to look after her by himself.
Sam added: “My mum has got Alzheimer’s and when she fell during the first lockdown she was taken into hospital.
“It became hard for my dad to look after her on his own, so she moved into the care home on the street where they live at the start of August.
“But with Covid restrictions, quarantines and lockdowns dad was only allowed one pod visit to see her at the care home each week.
“It’s when relatives see the residents in a room behind glass screens. So since July that was the only way for him to see her once a week.
“He was poorly just after Christmas and was struggling to look after himself at home.
“He needed 24 hour care so we decided as a family to get him a room at Bradwell Hall.
“The home then moved mum into his unit and that was the reunion at tea time on Friday.
“Before then he hadn’t seen her properly or held her hand for several months, but now he’s going to be living there.
“Mum was vaccinated at the home before Christmas but dad is allergic to penicillin so couldn’t have a dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
“Then he was taken into hospital for an x-ray after a fall before Christmas and caught Covid in hospital.
“Luckily he had no symptoms apart from a high temperature and recovered, but couldn’t be vaccinated at that time.
“Now he is safe to have the Astrazeneca one.”
The couple met in 1958 while Barbara worked in a chemist in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent., and Lewis had just completed his National Service.
Accountant Sam said: “At first because her dad was strict the only time they could see each other was when he walked her home from work.
“They weren’t allowed to go on dates until she was older. They married in 1960. She became a theatre nurse and he worked in a car dealership until they both retired.
“It’s so lovely that they will be able to be together again as they have been inseparable for most of their lives.”