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26th Sep, 2021

Couple married for 45 years but separated by Covid-19 reunite at Fernhill Heath care home

A HUSBAND and wife were reunited at the opening of a new all-weather visiting room at a Fernhill Heath care home.


Gay Smallman, a resident at Fernhill House Care Home and one of the original ‘Nightingale Nurses’, and Robert last saw each other face-to-face in February.

Robert flew out to New Zealand for what was supposed to be a three-week trip to see his daughters but due to the Covid-19 lockdown the borders were shut and he had to stay there for five months.

Arriving at the home Rob was full of love and excitement and she was equally overwhelmed describing the meeting – albeit through a glass partition – as ‘heavenly’.

Robert said: “We’ve been married 45 years, and we’re thick as thieves.”

Angie Ryan, Fernhill House home manager, said it was an emotional moment for everyone and one they had all been waiting for for a number of weeks.

She said: “I am very proud to state that Fernhill House has remained Covid free throughout which wholeheartedly down to the hard work and dedication of the team here at Fernhill and the guidance and support provided by Majesticare.”

The ‘Friendship Room’ which hosted the reunion was introduced for moments like this during the crisis.

Roger Pratap, Chairman at Majesticare Luxury Care Homes, said: “Early on into the pandemic, Majesticare was quick to recognise the potential lasting impact on visiting within our homes and so we made the decision to swiftly develop, an all-weather, safe visiting room within each of our homes.

“It is just wonderful to be able to bring Gay and Robert together at the opening of our very first visiting room.

“A beautifully decorated, private and safe space to ensure families and friends will always be able to stay safely connected in person, whatever the future may bring.”

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