There wasn’t a dry eye in the care home when inseparable husband and wife, George and Joyce Bell, were reunited after spending 100 days apart.
The childhood sweethearts, who were told they wouldn’t last when they started dating 70 years ago, wept as they held hands for the first time in more than three months.
They were reunited by staff at a care home in Middlesbrough, after being released from hospital.
Joyce, 87, said of their reunion: “I felt like a girl again. I’ve loved the socks off him since I was 17. I can’t tell you how nice it was to see him again.
“I told him I’d always be there for him, no matter what. He held me tight and said he’d never leave me again for the rest of his life. Now we just sit quietly holding each other’s hand.”
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Image:Tollesby Hall Care Home)
George said: “When we first got married, they were told they wouldn’t last, now look at us."
Joyce said: “We only ever had each other and that’s why it was so hard being apart from him."
Joyce and George, 89, grew up in Middlesbrough and lived next door but one to each other. They started dating when Joyce was 17 and got married four years later.
“I admired him from afar. They said it wouldn’t last because George had no staying power but they were very wrong,” Joyce said. “We have only ever been apart during his national service. I used to take him back to the station crying all over him. So being apart for this long has been really heartbreaking.
“I couldn’t have any children but we always had each other.
“I always remember the first time my mother saw him and said to me; ‘oh no! Not that lad on the noisy motorbike’. He just looked at her and grinned and from that minute she melted.”
Image:Tollesby Hall Care Home)
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Before they were admitted to James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, in June, the couple lived in a bungalow in Marton.
Rachel White, activities at Tollesby Hall Care Home, said: “Joyce came in the day before George and when she came in she sat and told us she’d lost track of how many days they had seen each other. She said she stopped counting after 13 weeks.
“Then on the morning he was coming in, she said she felt like a young girl again, like when they were first dating. She said she hadn’t been able to sleep. She was so excited and nervous.
“Everyone was in tears. A lot of people had to excuse themselves because they were so emotional. It has really touched the staff here. They’re generally lovely people to be around.
“As soon as she saw him Joyce started welling up and as we were trying to get them close to each other, they were both reaching out for each other. They wanted to hold hands and have a cuddle.
“It was such a heart-warming moment to be a part of... we are looking at getting them back in their home where they can return to their life together to carry on their fairy tale.”
After his National Service at the start of their marriage, George became an electrician and Joyce worked as a mobile window dresser and would go round all the big towns in the area to create the displays.
Asked about the secret to a long marriage, Joyce said: “Let them have their own way but sometimes you have to put your foot down, you have to with George. He’s been a wonderful husband.”Read More Read More