Tributes have been paid to an elderly couple who died on the same hospital ward within the space of just 25 hours.
Audrey and Jim Martin were both admitted to the Royal Stoke University Hospital and tested positive for coronavirus when they were reunited on ward 79.
Kind-hearted staff rearranged the ward to allow them to hold hands and listen to their favourite music before 88-year-old Audrey passed away - after 67 years of marriage.
She died on January 26 followed by 92-year-old Jim the following day. Their joint funeral service and cremation will be held at Carmountside Crematorium at 1.30pm on Wednesday, March 3.
Daughter-in-law Karen Martin has led tributes to the Weston Coyney couple.
The 58-year-old, from Longton, said:
“They adored one another. They did everything together, everything.
“When we got to the hospital, dad was holding mum’s hand. They’d put the beds together and played them Glenn Miller, John Denver, and all the music they liked all afternoon.
“Dad was over the moon to see us. He said ‘how have you got in, how are you here?'. 'Why have they let you in?’.
“Then of course we had to tell him about mum, and he was broken-hearted. He was pleased we were there but broken-hearted, and that’s when he said ‘I’ve got nothing to live for’.
“They always said they would go together.
“We were able to spend the rest of the time with them so my husband could hold mum’s hand, and I was with dad so I could hold dad’s hand until mum passed away.
“It was peaceful because dad was there holding her hand. Dad went the day after.”
The couple met in their early 20s when farmer Jim approached Audrey’s brother to see if he could ask her to go on a date with him. They went dancing, a hobby they kept up throughout their long, happy life together. Another passion was gardening.
Furniture remover Jim worked for JH Kelsalls, in Bucknall. Audrey worked at Tiko's cafe, in Longton, and the Meir branch of Wrights pies.
The family will be forever grateful for the care of the Royal Stoke staff.
Karen added: “Those nurses on ward 79 were absolutely amazing. They went above and beyond their jobs. I can’t thank them enough.”