Eastlight reunites Jean and Sidney for surprise birthday

An elderly man and woman

Eastlight Community Homes residents Sidney and Jean had been separated for seven months after Sidney moved to a care home shortly before lockdown restrictions came in.

When Dawn Simmons, Jean’s Eastlight Support Co-ordinator found out, she contacted Kilkee Lodge Care Home in Braintree to suggest a surprise reunion for the loved-up couple. As Sidney’s 93rd birthday was coming up in September, staff at the home organised a safe celebration with balloons, fish and chips and a huge sponge cake made by Jean’s friend Jill!

Sidney, who phones his wife of 72 years every morning, was very pleasantly surprised and said his party was lovely.

Jean, 90, married Sidney at Braintree Registry office in 1948 after meeting in the square after the war ended.

She said: “Sidney didn’t want to let go of my hand after the party! It’s been really lovely. I’m so grateful to staff at the care home, to Dawn, and to our friends, family and neighbours for their help and support – from taking the bins out to doing my shopping!”

Sam Reeves, Manager at Kilkee Lodge, said: “It was a lovely idea for Sidney and his wife to see each other for the first time since Sidney was admitted to Kilkee Lodge in February.

"We are lucky to have a conservatory where people can meet up at a safe distance whilst wearing appropriate PPE, so we were able to accommodate a visit for them.

"It was very difficult keeping it from Sidney as Jean really wanted it to be a surprise, and it was just that - a lovely surprise!”

Eastlight’s free support service is available for residents aged 65 or over or anyone living in an Eastlight Housing for Older People scheme, to help them to retain their privacy, dignity and independence. Call 01376 5354000 or email enquiries@eastlighthomes.co.uk to find out more.