Elderly couple die side by side on same day after 77 years together
An elderly couple died on the same day when hospital staff moved their beds side by side - so they could hold hands one last time.
Joyce and Frank Dodd, 97 and 96 respectively, who had been devoted to each other for 77 years clasped hands one last time at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Kent, before both passing away.
The couple, from Gravesend in Kent, fell in love when they were teenagers and were married for nearly eight decades.
They had five children, 12 grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Both ill, the couple lay in separate wards in hospital, but staff decided to move their beds side by side so they could be together at their last moments.
The couple's daughter Angela Bonell, 75, said: "The staff were excellent.
"They had mum upstairs and dad downstairs and they asked us if we would like them to bring their beds together.
"They brought dad upstairs so they could lay and hold hands.
"The staff on Redwood ward went above and beyond anything we could have hoped for, it was really special."
Mr Dodd, who had heart failure, had spent five weeks in a care home before going into hospital and his devoted wife visited him every day until she became ill too.
The couple died on Saturday, April 8, Mr Dodd at 4am and his wife at 6pm - just days after their wedding anniversary.
The pair had met when they were just 14 in Dartford, Kent when Joyce was a waitress and Mr Dodd worked as a sawyer at a timber yard.
Five years later they married at St George's Church in the town centre and moved into Mrs Dodd’s parents crab shop where they had their three eldest children, including Anglea.
She said: "Joyce and Frank enjoyed 77 happy years of marriage and in later years, as their health declined, they still looked after each other and were together until the very end."
She added that her mother Joyce loved organising games for the children and threw frequent fancy dress parties, for which Mr Dodd always avoided dressing up.
She said: "My parents were like chalk and cheese".
After they retired, Mr Dodd continued to enjoy gardening and refused to let age slow him down.
His daughter recalled finding her dad up a ladder, painting a drain pipe, at the age of 94.
Mrs Dodd, who loved baking, always had homemade cake for visitors and never went to a party without a quiche, her children said.
The pair will be laid to rest at Gravesend Crematorium on May 15.