United Kingdom

Funeral for husband, 92, and wife, 88, who died of Covid one day apart after 67 years of marriage

A joint funeral has been held for a husband and wife who died of Covid just one day apart after 67 years of marriage.

Audrey, 88, and Jim Martin, 92, were admitted to the Royal Stoke Hospital where staff arranged for them to be on the same ward.

The couple, from Weston Coyney, spent time holding hands and listening to their favourite wartime music before Audrey died on January 26, and Jim the following day.  

Their joint funeral service heard that Jim always said that 'he and Audrey would leave this life together', and that 'he was true to his word and never left her side even at the end.'

Audrey, 88, and Jim Martin, 92, married on September 29 in 1952 and went on to have two boys Colin and Alan, and settled in their family home on Princess Drive in Weston Coyney

 Jim started work on a farm before starting a career in furniture removals. Audrey worked as a dinner lady at Weston Coyney Middle School, before going on to work for Wrights Pies

The funeral procession in Stoke-on-Trent

Leading the service, funeral director Adele Blurton said: 'Throughout their lives they were both really lucky to enjoy good health.

'Jim was proud to say that he had never had a day off in his life and when Audrey was diagnosed with cancer aged 80 the hospital was amazed that she had no medical records.

'But as we all do, both faced their own difficulties, but both came through everything that life threw at them. But nobody could have foreseen the events over the last few weeks.

'Covid-19 has affected so many families, in so many ways, but for Jim and Audrey and those who love them, this time has been devastating.

Audrey died on January 26, Jim a day later. He always said he and Audrey would 'leave this life together'

'But just as they have always been together throughout their lives, in death they were the same.

'Jim always said that he and Audrey would leave this life together and when she said goodbye to us all on January 26 he was true to his word.

'Jim never left Audrey's side, even at the end.

'In the space of 24 short hours they would be side by side once again.'

The service heard how the couple married on September 29, 1952 and went on to have two sons Colin and Alan, and settled in their family home on Princess Drive in Weston Coyney.

Jim started work on a farm before starting a career in furniture removals. Audrey worked as a dinner lady at Weston Coyney Middle School, before going on to work for Wrights Pies.

They also had three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

The couple first met after Jim asked Audrey's brother if he could take her to a dance. Audrey said yes, but in a case of mistaken identity she originally thought she was meeting a different Jim.

But they hit it off and would continue to enjoying dancing throughout their lives together

Jim would often sing to Audrey, and she never tired of hearing him serenade her.

They enjoyed looking after their garden and going on Sunday walks through the Peak District with friends and family and Audrey would always have a picnic prepared.

The funeral service was held at Carmountside Cemetery and Crematorium in Stoke-on-Trent

Pallbearers carry their coffins into the crematorium 

Their funeral procession through Stoke-on-Trent

Adele said: 'They were different in many ways, but like two peas in a pod in others.

'Audrey was tough on the outside, but soft in the middle. Jim was a real Potteries boy and knew anything about everything.

'They both just worked like a key to a lock. They were the pins that held the Martin family together. For almost 70 years they tackled life's ups and downs side by side.

'They saved up for a green house and grew all sorts of vegetables. Walking was a big part of family life too.

'It was a Sunday tradition to spend quality time together, often across the Peak District and whatever the weather Audrey made sure they had a picnic ready, too.'

The family thanked the staff at the Royal Stoke University Hospital for the way they cared for Audrey and Jim at the end of their lives.

Jim and Audrey celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary, seven years ago

Adele added: 'The biggest thank you must go to each and every member of staff from the Royal Stoke who looked after both Audrey and Jim with such dignity and compassion.

'We want to thank the staff at ward 79 that these two special people could spend their final hours together listening to their favourite music and holding each other's hands.

'At an extremely challenging time they achieved the impossible. They offered Audrey, Jim and their family a calm, loving atmosphere.

'The words 'thank you' will never be enough and the kindness shown by everyone will never be forgotten.'

Funds were collected at the end of the service for the Douglas Macmillan Hospice as mourners left the service to 'We'll Meet Again' by Vera Lynn.

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