Elderly couple can stay in the same home after worldwide social media campaign
Published 01/11/2016 | 15:45
The family of a couple who have been together for 70 years were "incredibly relieved" after a council said they could stay in the same home following a social media campaign that went around the world.
Relatives of Ray and Jessie Lorrison from South Shields took up their case with South Tyneside Council after they were not initially allowed to stay in the same care home.
Mr Lorrison, who is 95 and who has Alzheimer's Disease, has been staying at Westoe Grange Care Home, while his 88-year-old wife has been treated in hospital following a fall.
Their family had said it was disgusting that the couple would not be allowed to be together once Mrs Lorrison was well enough to leave hospital. She had been expected to return to the marital home and would receive daily visits from carers.
Their grandson Lee Bates started an online petition urging the council to think again, and by Tuesday lunchtime more than 20,000 people had signed it.
At around that time, the council announced the couple would be allowed to stay in the same home.
Mr Bates said: "We are incredibly relieved and happy that the decision has been made and my grandparents are going to be back together and that my grandmother is going to get the care that she deserves.
"The public support has been astonishing.
"We have had in excess of 20,000 people sign the petition from all over the world, Australia, Poland and the US. The speed it has gone at is incredible."
Mr Lorrison, who was a cook in the Merchant Navy, and his wife, a shop manager, met in 1946, married in 1950 and went on to have three children.
Mr Bates's online plea said: "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.
"This treatment is inhumane and cruel."
After the successful plea, Mr Bates explained how Alzheimer's Disease had robbed his grandfather of many of his faculties.
He said: "How he feels about his wife has never changed. She just reassures and comforts him and it makes a hell of a difference."
The couple could be reunited at the end of the week when she is released from hospital.
Mr Bates hoped other people could use the family's example to fight on, saying: "If someone else sees it and thinks 'you can do this, we do have a voice' then that is a bonus."
A South Tyneside Council spokesperson said: "The assessment process has now 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 decision could have been made.