Newlyweds to spend Christmas cooking for the care home residents they adore like a 'second family'

The couple tell ITV News Meridian's Tony Green the care home residents are 'like family'

A newlywed pair will spend their first Christmas as a married couple cooking and caring for residents in a care home.

Antonio Iancu and his wife Malina, who are both originally from Romania, say the residents and staff at Hailsham House in East Sussex are like a "second family" to them.

The couple tied the knot in July after postponing their wedding for a year due to Covid travel restrictions.

They plan to spend the festive day distributing presents, singing carols, and putting on a Christmas dinner feast to make the elderly residents feel like it's "the old times."

Malina and Antonio tied the knot in July Credit: Malina & Antonio Iancu

Antonio, who is head chef at the care home, has been preparing the food ahead of Christmas Day where he will be cooking for more than 80 people.

Antonio said: "We prefer to stay at work because our residents and our staff are like a family to us, actually a second family, because we cannot go home to Romania because of Covid and that's why we choose to work on Christmas Day."

Antonio will be cooking for more than 80 people on Christmas Day Credit: ITV News Meridian

Malina, who works on reception, said: "We will be going with their presents over in the units and opening with the residents that will be really nice.

"We will be singing dancing and doing lots of activity and trying to make our residents feel as they did back in the day."

There is more than one couple on the payroll at the care home, which staff say works for their job - and for a happy marriage. 

Katie Brewster, who manages the care home, said: "Sometimes when you are working in a care home you can spend more of your time here than you do at home, so we are quite lucky that we have these couples with us.

"We are lucky this Christmas that we can have some people in and share Christmas lunch with their partners and we can have visitors.

"Not as open house as we would like but it's a much better Christmas than it was last year."