Christmas apart-for first time in 53 years for Collier Row couple

A DEVOTED couple are facing their first Christmas apart in 53 years of marriage after ill health separated them.

Ronald Bailey, 80, is devastated that he will have to spend Christmas in a Collier Row nursing home while his wife Pauline, 81, remains in her hospital bed in St George’s Hospital, Suttons Lane, Hornchurch.

They have been told there is no possibility that the health authorities can unite them on Christmas day.

Their son’s partner, Gloria Landers said: “They are both just really devastated that they won’t be able to spend Christmas Day together.

“They are both old and their health is getting worse so they were really looking forward to spending what they thought could possibly be their last Christmas together.”

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Pauline was admitted into Queen’s Hospital, in Rom Valley Way, Romford, after she suffered a stroke at the couple’s home in Mawney Road, Collier Row, in October.

She was later transferred to St George’s Hospital for rehabilitation.

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Just a month after Pauline’s stroke, Ronald had to be admitted into Queen’s Hospital after a bad fall left him with three cracked ribs and a punctured lung.

Gloria said: “They have been married for 53 years and in that time they have never had a Christmas apart.

“Its really sad because at Christmas I think everyone should be allowed to be with their family and friends.”

Ronald was hoping to be transferred to St George’s Hospital for rehabilitation so he could spend Christmas Day with Pauline but instead, last Friday, he was transferred to Ashbrooke Nursing Home, Chase Cross Road, Collier Row.

Gloria and the couple’s son Peter, who live in West Sussex, were planning to spend Christmas with the couple but because of the heavy snowfall and the treacherous road conditions, they fear that they won’t be able to visit until Boxing Day.

Gloria said: “I think it is really sad that they cannot spend Christmas together because we can’t be with them until Boxing Day.

“We were really hoping that they would have each other and we would have felt a lot better having that thought.”

The couple, originally from East Ham, first found love while they were students at East Ham College.

In 1957 they got married at St Paul’s Church, East Ham, before moving to their current home in Collier Row.

Ronald worked as a television engineer before he retired in the 90s, while Pauline stayed home and looked after their two children.

The couple also have two grandchildren.

Gloria said: “They are a lovely couple, they do not have a fantastic social life but the most important thing for them is that they have always been there for eachother.

“Ron has always been the head of the house and since they got married he has always run everything in the house.

“For them Christmas has always been really important because it is just a chance for them to catch up with family.”

A spokesman for NHS Havering said: “It us unfortunate that Mr and Mrs Bailey could not be treated together this Christmas. We do however wish them both a speedy recovery and a merry Christmas.”

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