Widow to marry 'soul mate' in Derby care home ceremony

image copyrightPauline Murray
image captionJeff Thomas and Pauline Murray met on a blind date at a pub

A widow is due to marry her second "soul mate" at a care home after 18 years together.

Jeff Thomas, 72, has been living at Abbeydale Nursing Home in Derby since September after being diagnosed with incurable lung cancer.

He popped the question to Pauline Murray, also 72, last month.

The wedding is due to take place on Wednesday with a small number of guests after a special licence was granted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The hastily-arranged service will be conducted by Reverend Peter Barham, the vicar of St Edmund's Church in Allestree, who successfully applied for the licence.

Getting married was something Ms Murray said she had put off doing, but after Mr Thomas went into the home "I realised how much I loved him," she said.

'My soul mate'

"I've been married before, my husband died," said Ms Murray.

"I never thought I'd have another soul mate after Jack but he is my soul mate. I trust him and he's everything to me. He's a beautiful man.

"I'm very fortunate, so to be honest I think it's worth marrying him," she said.

Mr Thomas insisted on going to a care home when he became unwell, to take away the pressure of caring for him at home.

However, this meant the couple had to go several weeks without seeing each other during the coronavirus pandemic.

"It has been very cruel. I've lost that time and I'll never get that back with Jeff," said Ms Murray.

image copyrightGoogle
image captionMs Murray said care home staff had been "absolutely marvellous" at planning the wedding

Mr Thomas said: "It's not because of my illness we decided to get married, I'm marrying her because I love her."

He said planning the big day had been "a rollercoaster", adding he hoped he would be well enough to stand up during the ceremony.

Karen Jenkinson, from the care home, described Mr Thomas and Ms Murray as an "amazing" couple.

"That's why we wanted to pull this off. We've never done this before but we are certainly going to make sure it happens," she said.

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