The Ashwood couple defying the odds

"We have a laugh every day"

Chris and Gill hadn’t met before they moved into Ashwood, a ShireLiving scheme in Oswestry nearly 6 years ago. Gill had moved into a bungalow on site after her husband died. Chris moved to Ashwood after retiring to be close to one of his daughters.

“I’d seen Gill out and about on the street when she was going to do her shopping.”

Chris had been ill when he first moved into Ashwood. When he was on the mend, he would join in the quizzes in the communal lounge to meet others. Gill was invited to the quizzes by a friend, that’s where Chris first caught her eye.

“She spotted me and immediately fell in love!” Chris teases.

The pair would spend evenings with fellow tenants in the communal lounge before friends started to play match-maker.

Chris says: “The people we were with, they made it happen. They made it so we were sat together. We started going for a coffee, and we got to know each other. Then one evening she stole a kiss from me!”

“You’d already held my hand that night!” Gill adds: “It was like going back to being a teenager again.”

In 2019, on a trip to Liverpool the couple got engaged by the River Mersey. They moved into an apartment together and planned to get married in September 2023.

However, a month before the wedding, the couple were dealt a huge blow - Chris suffered a heart attack. Although treatment for his heart attack was a success, there was further heartache. Chris had started getting abdominal pains, and a scan later showed catastrophic damage to his bowel. The couple's family were called to the hospital, as he was told he only had days to live.

After Gill had mentioned their wedding plans to a nurse, the palliative care team arranged for a Chaplain to marry the couple. It was decided that Chris would spend his last days at home, and he was looked after by Gill and a care team.

Days soon turned to weeks, and after seven weeks questions were being asked. Chris removed himself from end of life care and tried getting back on his feet, all with the help of Gill. A hospital trip for an angina attack revealed incredible news – Chris’s condition was not fatal as first thought – in fact, his bowel was healing itself. Chris was still incredibly weak and had a long road to recovery but he was now expected to survive.

With Gill at his side, he is now able to walk and has started to drive again. The couple are already making plans for the future, which include a holiday and a wedding party at Ashwood.

Chris says: "We love it here, we can sit out on the balcony at night. Coming here has been great, I found Gill and she found me."

15th February 2024