A DEVOTED couple who were happily married for more than half a century spent their final hours together in a Yorkshire hospital, holding hands.
Audrey Fleetwood, 77, had been in a ward for 23 weeks when husband Dennis was admitted on her birthday, November 17.
Mr Fleetwood, 85, died the next day, but not before nurses had moved the couple’s beds together so they could hold hands for his final hours.
Mrs Fleetwood then died just two days later.
Their son Paul said: “They pushed mum’s bed in to dad’s room and took the middle barriers down so they could lie together.
“They they put a pillow between them so they could hold hands comfortably.
“We told him he was holding mum’s hand and it was OK, once we said that he stopped struggling and moving around and was peaceful.
“He died holding her hand.”
Mr Fleetwood, 48, said his father had told him he didn’t want to live without his beloved wife.
He said: “They had a really happy marriage, bickered every day, but were really happy. They were never apart.”
Mrs Fleetwood had been on end-of-life care when her husband of 54 years was admitted to Barnsley District General Hospital.
Paul said: “We told her about what had happened to dad but I’m not sure if she understood.
“And after dad died she just slipped away - I like to think they both went together.”
He said of the nurses at the hospital: “It was just beautiful what they did for my parents, bringing them in together and letting them hold hands.”
Mrs Fleetwood, who suffered from mild dementia, had been in hospital after a gall stone operation. Her health then deteriorated after she fell victim to a string of infections.
Her husband, a former butcher and car dealer, had been admitted to hospital after becoming unwell, and subsequently died of aspiration pneumonia.
Their son said: “They did everything together and when dad was to sick to go to dances he told told mum to go with someone else and she used to say ‘I’m not bothered I don’t want to go with anyone else’.”
There will be a joint funeral for the couple next week.