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Elderly Couple Married For 66 Years Reunite After 100-Day Mandatory COVID Separation

Tollesby Hall Care Home/Facebook

The pandemic has been hard on all of us, but octogenarians George and Joyce Bell recently made it through a particularly rough patch. They were hospitalized separately, earlier this year, for different health problems; and, due to COVID-19 restrictions, they then had to spend 100 days apart. Both were admitted to James Cook University Hospital in June, and only in recent weeks were they able to see one another in person again.  After 66 years of marriage, that kind of separation must have been almost unfathomable. 

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The couple has enjoyed a beautiful life together, enjoying their partnership as well as their independence. They married when Joyce was 21 and George was 23, at a church called St. Cuthbert’s Church, which is no longer standing.

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At the start of their marriage, George was in the National Service; he then went on to work as an electrician, an armature winder. Joyce fondly remembers him building life-sized model engines as a hobby. Joyce worked as a window dresser, creating displays in the storefronts of several different local cities.

She loved her job so much that she actually didn’t want to retire when she turned 65! For their 40th wedding anniversary—called the Ruby Wedding Anniversary in England—George gave Joyce a beautiful ring, which she especially treasured during the difficult months of their mandatory separation. Before their hospitalizations this year, they lived in a bungalow in a quiet town.

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‘I made him make me a promise [before the mandatory separation],’ Joyce says. ‘I told him if he ends up going into a home that I’m not going into one.’

Tollesby Hall Care Home/Facebook
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But after being reunited, they were indeed sent together to a nursing home to recuperate. Joyce is recovering well from her broken hip, and the staff take her downstairs to visit George every day.

Tollesby Hall Care Home/Facebook

They’re both pleased with the care they’re receiving, and their proximity to each other. Their nursing home, as it happens, is in the town where they both grew up and his family lived two doors down from hers. 

Tollesby Hall Care Home/Facebook
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‘I can’t tell you how nice it was,’ said Joyce of their reunion. ‘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.’

Tollesby Hall Care Home/Facebook
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Nursing home social media has shown photos of the couple snuggling and holding hands, clearly savoring every moment they get to spent together.

Lead image: Tollesby Hall Care Home/Facebook