Joy for elderly couple after council backtracks on decision to rip them apart after 70 years together

Jessie and Ray Lorrison.
Jessie and Ray Lorrison.

A couple of 70 years who faced being separated due to care home rules have been told they can now live together.

Jessie and Ray Lorrison, from South Shields, were told they must live separately after their family claimed South Tyneside Council stopped them from moving into the same care home.

My nana cried with joy.

Holly Haynes

Mr Lorrison, 95, is living at Westoe Grange Care Home, while his 88-year-old wife is in hospital after being told she ddid not meet the criteria to join him.

The news sparked outrage across the country, with almost 21,000 people signing a petition urging the local authority to change it’s mind.

However, today South Tyneside Council has confirmed Mrs Lorrison will be able to live in the same care home as her husband.

Holly Haynes, the couple’s granddaughter, from South Shields, said: “We are overjoyed and overwhelmed with the support from everyone.

“My nana cried with joy when she found out. We’re just so happy.”

Grandson Lee Bates, who started the petition, added: “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.”

South Shields MP Emma Lewell Buck revealed she had also contacted the council over the matter.

She said: “This is a tragic situation and my heart goes out to the whole family. I have been in touch with South Tyneside Council and hope a successful resolution can be found in line with the Care Act’s guiding principle that says it the responsibility of local authorities to promote wellbeing when carrying out any of their care and support functions.”

Council bosses have said the move can now take place as the assessment process has been completed.

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.

“Multi-disciplinary assessments take into account information from a number of health and social care services including social worker, medical and nursing staff and occupational therapists to understand the level of support required for any individual prior to reaching an outcome.

“The assessment process is clearly set out in legislation to ensure that we meet an individual’s needs in the best possible way.”