Couple forced apart after 70 years reunited thanks to petition

Jessie and Ray Lorrison had spent every day of their lives together since meeting in 1946

Inseparable couple reunited thanks to crowd funding campaign

A devoted couple forced apart after 70 years together will be reunited - after 20,000 people backed their family's campaign.

'Inseparable' Jessie and Ray Lorrison had spent every day of their lives with each other after meeting in 1946.

But they faced being apart for the first time after Jessie fell ill nine weeks ago.

Ray, 95, was left living alone at Westoe Grange Care Home in South Shields, South Tyneside, while his wife, 88, was in hospital.

At first her family was warned that she did not meet care criteria to join her husband.

There was concern that she might not be able to live independently again if she moved in with him.

But South Tyneside council today resolved the situation - and she will be with him as soon as she is well again.

Their grandson Lee Bates, 41, launched an on-line petition which saw 20,000 people back the call to bring them together.

His parents James, and the Lorrison's daughter Cheryl, 60, were delighted with the move.

Retired machine setter James, 66, said: "My wife is chuffed about it, we all are.

"She cannot thank everyone enough for their support - we are still getting messages now.

"It shows the power of social media, and we are glad the council officials have changed their mind.

"We feel the social care people said some nasty things, which they should not have done."

He added: "Ray is definitely aware that she is not there.

"You can see the difference in him."

Cheryl, of South Shields, who visited her mum in hospital yesterday, had been 'desperate' for them to live together.

The mother-of-three said: "Why should they be apart after all this time? They haven't even got that much time left together.

"My dad will be lucky if he gets another six months."

The on-line plea from Lee, of Gateshead, read: "My grandfather sits and waits for her everyday - confused, anxious and lonely without the woman who has been by his side for 70 yrs.

"My grandmother misses her husband terribly and still wants to do what she can to care for him - even if its just sitting by his side holding his hand. It is cruel."

It was backed by 20,019 on the site change.org, with the plea 'end the inhumane treatment of an elderly couple'. Ray, a Merchant Navy cook and shop manager Jessie, married in North Tyneside in 1950 and went on to have three children.

The couple spent more than 60 years living together. It wasn't until Jessie was rushed to South Tyneside Hospital nine weeks ago after a fall, that they were separated.

Jessie was released from hospital after two weeks and was allowed to stay at Westoe Grange Care Home with her husband, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's five years ago.

But, just three days later, she collapsed again and was rushed to hospital with sepsis.

She was due to return to the former marital home with daily visits by a carer, but will now be reunited with her husband.

South Tyneside Council said: "The assessment process has been completed and the lady will be placed in the same residential home as her husband.

"Although she is no longer able to live independently we are pleased that at least the couple will be able to stay together."

The council said multi-disciplinary assessments had needed to be completed, involving health and social care services, before a final decision could be made on her care.

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