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Together again after 45 years

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Jilly and Gordon met in 1960 but only got together eight years ago and live happily in a secure Bromford scheme, the Haven. Gordon says: “This has changed my attitude to sheltered housing. It suits us down to the ground.”

Gordon had been a policeman for over 30 years and was retired and living on his own when Jilly wrote to him in 2005. She had moved to Cyprus for a fresh start after her husband had died but was desperately lonely.

Jilly had always wondered what had happened to Gordon and he recalls the letter asking him if he remembered her: “It was written in purple ink.” Jilly invited him to join her for a holiday and they got on so well that Gordon never left.

However their contentment was short-lived. Not long after moving to Cyprus, Gordon became ill with the tropical disease, Leishmaniasis, a severe parasitic infection, and was in hospital for six months. “It was only diagnosed when I came back to the UK on one of our regular trips back.”

Gordon continues: “It made us think about the security of the NHS in the UK and prompted a permanent return home. Jilly had lived at the Haven previously when her husband was alive and applied for a flat here. It’s perfect for us, a Godsend.

“It’s all on one level and we have everything fitted for our needs. I’ve got handy pulls to unlock the front door and a speaker system in case of an emergency. It’s so secure.

“There’s a sliding door from the bedroom to bathroom so when and if I get wheelchair bound I can take it into the shower room. [Gordon has cancer and heart trouble.]

“We don’t know where we would’ve got a place like this without Bromford and it’s changed my attitude to sheltered housing; I thought this sort of accommodation was for people who are completely disabled and that there would be people in a common room doing nothing but looking vacant.

“However, it’s been an eye-opener and there is a life here if you want it. I was brought up in the country and it’s lovely that I can still get involved in gardening. We’ve landed on our feet.”