Hospital bosses have apologised to a widower who rushed to his dying wife’s bedside - and was hit with a parking fine.
William Parkinson was woken in the early house of July 3 by staff at South Tyneside Hospital to say his wife Jeanette had taken a turn for the worse.
Despite rushing from his home in Cleadon to the 80-year-old’s bedside, Jeannette passed away before her husband of 62-years arrived.
Heartbroken at losing his beloved wife, Mr Parkinson stayed to complete forms so her death could be registered but he forgot to pay for a parking ticket.
Within a week, the 82-year-old, received a £70 fine – reduced to £42 if paid within 14 days – from Parking Eye which left him distraught.
The pensioner paid the fine but has called for parking charges to be scrapped late at night.
However, hospital chiefs have apologised for Mr Parkinson’s fine and say the cash will be refunded.
The former South Shields firefighter and planning enforcement officer with Sunderland City Council, said: “Jeanette was taken in to hospital on June 29 and every day I visited her and every time I paid for my parking. But that night, when I was woken by the hospital to say I needed to be there, I got in the car and drove straight down. I never made it in time. Jeanette had died before I arrived
“When I got there, the whole place was darkness. I just parked the car and rushed in. Getting a ticket was the last thing on my mind, I just wanted to be with my wife.”
He added: “While I appreciate that my fine will now be refunded, it should never have happened in the first place.
“Why can’t they allow free parking after the evening visiting ends and start it again the following morning at 8am? Nobody who attends hospital late at night is there for a pleasant reason.”
Steve Jamieson, director of estates and facilities at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust said: “We were very sorry to hear about the parking fine that was issued to Mr Parkinson and offer our sincere condolences to him on the death of his wife. We have contacted Parking Eye and have asked them to cancel the fine and refund Mr Parkinson.
“The Trust has a policy of offering free parking to the families of patients who are receiving end of life care at the hospital to ensure that incidents such as this do not happen at what is a very difficult time for all concerned.”