50 first dates: Doting husband visits wife in care home each day knowing she may not remember him

This Is Local London: 50 first dates: Doting husband visits wife in care home each day knowing that one day she may not remember him 50 first dates: Doting husband visits wife in care home each day knowing that one day she may not remember him

A doting husband visits his wife in a care home everyday knowing she may not remember him.

Michael Perrett visits wife Sheila, 80, who has Alzheimer’s disease, daily at Abbeyfield House in New Malden.

The pair celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on February 20 with a party at the California Road care home. Mr Perrett said: “Sheila does not remember very much but we have lots of photos – there must have been 100 plus.

“She is full of smiles when I come. She does not talk very much but she is a delight."

Sheila moved into the care home in September last year. The pair met as children.

Mr Perrett, a retired manager of a wallpaper company, said: “We met when we were seven or eight at the Saturday morning pictures in Kingston.

“Then I did not meet her until I was doing my national service in the RAF and I saw her at a drinks thing at the Grove Tavern in Kingston.”

Mr Perrett proposed to Sheila, a clerk at the Kingston gas works, that night. Recalling the proposal he said: “It was more than love at first sight.

“We were sitting by Canbury Gardens on the bench – I don’t think I was that romantic.

“I think I said ‘I have got something to ask you, I don’t know whether you will like it or not.’”

The couple tied the knot at All Saints Church two years later in 1954 when they were both 20.

Mr Perrett said: “The family cobbled together as much as we could. We had the wedding cake made by Sheila’s mum and in those days you just ate sandwiches.

“I remember after I only had 11p until the following Thursday. But she looked beautiful.”

He said the highlight of their marriage had been the many walking holidays they had gone on in Devon, Dorset and Cornwall.

But when asked about the secret to a long and happy marriage, Mr Perrett said: “We are just great friends. Her face brightens up when I visit and she says ‘that’s my man’. I love her with all my heart.”

Emmanuel Torsoo, manager at the care home, said: “Michael and Sheila’s commitment is a beacon to us all.

“Michael has visited his wife every day without fail, except for one instance of him being poorly – when we made it possible for Sheila to visit him at home.

“We have to banish the myth that a dementia diagnosis spells a totally bleak future.”

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