A 94 year old couple who had been forced to live apart for five years due to ill-health and care needs, have been reunited and are now back living together in time to celebrate their 70th anniversary together on July 4th.
Ken and Kath Cowley, a retired Vicar and dressmaker respectively, who live at Waverley Court extra care housing scheme in Portishead, have been together since New Year’s Eve 1938 where they met at a Ball, and as Ken said: “That was that. We’ve been together ever since.”
Even the onset of the Second World War a year later, which saw Ken abroad on operations for four years with the RAF as a Wireless Operator, didn’t come between them. As Ken recalls: “We got married at All Saint’s church in Cheltenham on July 4th 1944, and I managed to get one week’s leave back from the Middle East for the wedding.”
In 2004 Kath, who had made dresses for Debutantes and even her own wedding dress, suffered a stroke. This saw Ken, who had been a Vicar in the Parish of Lidney in Gloucestershire for 30 years, became her carer at home for the next five years. Further health complications meant Kath needed to move into a care home in Clevedon, and Ken decided to move to Waverley Court where he could live independently yet receive a level of support if needed.
Lisa Brain, Brunelcare’s care manager at Waverley Court said: “Ken is clearly devoted to his wife Kath, and would frequently visit her in the care home. When he asked me why Kath couldn’t come here to live with him I didn’t have an answer as I thought it was a wonderful idea, so I said I would look into it.
“Following discussions with Care Connect and social workers, we decided that we were able to provide the level of care here that Kath requires, and made the arrangements for Kath to move in. At first they were in a one bedroom apartment, but a two-bed soon became available which suited their care needs.”
The Brunelcare team worked to get the couple moved and settled into their new accommodation and whilst they are still settling into their new routine, the support provided has ensured a smooth transition. Ken is also able to continue to keep up with getting out to shops and paying his bills, knowing that Kath is being well cared for in his absence.
Lisa continues: “Ken is so much happier now Kath is back with him. For example he never used to come down for breakfast but now he brings her down every morning. It’s so wonderful to see then reunited in time for their wedding anniversary so no doubt they’ll be lots of celebrating going on here on July 4th.”
On being asked what it was like to have Kath back with him, Ken replied: “I’m back to feeling as one, rather than a bit.”