Award-winning care provider, Hallmark Care Homes has granted a residents’ Christmas wish to see his old flame by organising a reunion at the care home where he lives.
Tony Parkins, 87, who lives at Hallmark Care Homes facility in Essex, Anisha Grange, was reunited with ex-girlfriend Grace Duffin, 85, after 20 years of not seeing each other.
Tony, requested to see Grace, whom he has been friends with since 1947 as part of a company-wide Christmas wish competition organised by Hallmark.
Tony was announced as the winner for Anisha Grange in January and ever since Hallmark Care Home team members have been working closely with Tony’s family to find a contact for Grace and make it happen.
Due to a lack of mobility, Tony and Grace had been unable to see each other in person for years but with Hallmark Care homes help, Grace was chauffeur driven by a Rolls Royce Ghost back and forth from her home in Finchley, London to the care home where she enjoyed a private lunch and reunion with Tony.
Tony said: “I had a lovely day and I am so grateful to Hallmark Care Homes for arranging this, when they had told me at the home I had won the competition, I couldn’t believe it. I said you’re kidding!
“Me and Grace have always been good friends and we have always had a laugh together. I think a good sense of humour is essential in life, you can survive most things if you can laugh about it at a later date.”
Tony and Grace born in Essex, met at Methodist Youth Club in Gidea Park in 1947, aged 19 and 17. They dated for a while but Grace had her heart stolen by somebody else and Tony went on to meet the love of his life, late wife Joan in 1954.
Grace’s first marriage didn’t last but then she met her second husband Ken Duffin and the foursome remained friends for many years. Sadly, Ken passed away in 2009.
Grace Duffin said: “I had a wonderful day, I felt like royalty being picked up in the beautiful car and the home provided me with a lovely lunch.
“Me and Tony also had a great time reminsciensing about old times. We talked about how we used to climb mountains and go on bike rides, we talked about Joan and Ken and our days at the theatre.
“We’ve done so much together over the years, we’ve travelled, and I have gone to places I would of never of seen or done without Tony. He is just a nice bloke with a great sense of humour and we have always got on well since we were boyfriend and girlfriend.”
Following the reunion, Tony sent Grace a bouquet of her favourite flowers – red roses. The attached card read ‘with love, Tony.’
Now they are both reconnected, the friends said they will try and see each other again soon.
Anisha Grange has offered to help with facilitating any future visits.