Care home resident, 85, finally marries 91-year-old sweetheart after pandemic delayed nuptials

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·2 min read
Peter Smirles and Jean Smirles have married at his care home after dating for 26 years. (SWNS)
Peter and Jean Smirles have married at his care home after dating for 26 years. (SWNS)

An elderly couple have finally tied the knot inside a care home following months of delays as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Peter Smirles, 85, and Jean Robson, 91, were forced to put off their nuptials as the country was locked down to reduce COVID cases and deaths.

But as Mr Smirles's health began to deteriorate just after Christmas, his doctor advised that the ceremony should happen sooner rather than later.

It finally took place at The Cedars care home in Purton, Wiltshire – where Mr Smirles is a resident – after a licence was granted by the county's superintendent registrar.

Care home staff helped make the ceremony COVID-secure. (SWNS)
Care home staff helped make the ceremony COVID-secure. (SWNS)
Peter and Jean Smirles were forced to put off their nuptials as the country was locked down. (SWNS)
Peter and Jean Smirles were forced to put off their nuptials as the country was locked down. (SWNS)

Mr Smirles, who has been dating his partner for 26 years after a previous divorce, said: "What can I say but I love her?"

The care home worked with the new Mrs Smirles and her daughters Alison Buckland and Susan Wyths to ensure a ceremony to remember – and the COVID-safe wedding took place on 23 February.

Watch: Minister says care home visitors will have to wear PPE in future

Care home manager Amy Thorne says they were even able to get Mr Smirles’ bubble together and have a stag do in the home the night before.

All visitors to the home had to take a lateral flow test and wear full personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times.

The marriage was witnessed by Ms Buckland and Ms Wyths, while Mr Smirles’ daughter and granddaughter also joined on Skype from their home in Norway.

Speaking after the ceremony, Mrs Smirles said: “It was lovely that so many people put in so much effort to make sure this could happen.

“We have been planning this for so long but it seemed it might never happen.

Family members watched the wedding ceremony online. (SWNS)
Family members watched the wedding ceremony online. (SWNS)

“Peter actually first proposed to me about 25 years ago but I said ‘why rush’ and then it never seemed to happen.

“Amy and her team have been so good to make this happen, and The Cedars looked lovely today.”

Peter and Jean Smirles were married at the Cedars care home in Purton, Wiltshire. (SWNS)
Peter and Jean Smirles were married at The Cedars care home in Purton, Wiltshire. (SWNS)

Ms Thorne said: “I only started as manager here at The Cedars in January and this was about the first thing I was asked to do and we have been delighted to make sure it goes ahead.”

She added: “The organisation of the wedding has been challenging but we worked through the risk assessments and with our infection control experts to make sure that it was as safe as it could be.”

Watch: How England will leave lockdown