• Durham OnAir

Care home couple treated to romantic meal-for-two on Valentine’s Day


A devoted couple, who have been married for over 65 years, have celebrated Valentine’s Day with a special meal-for-two thanks to staff at the couple’s care home.

Alan and Mary Williams are residents at Croft House in Shotton Colliery, near Peterlee County Durham. Alan, aged 88, moved into the care home in 2020, with his wife, 86-year-old Mary, joining him the following year.

Their differing health and social care needs mean they don’t share a room, but the couple, who married in 1954, spend lots of quality time together.

Wanting to make Valentine’s Day extra special, staff at the care home treated Alan and Mary to a private dining experience for two with Mary having scampi and Alan opting for steak and chips to go with a glass of non-alcoholic rose.

After the pair danced to ‘They Told Us We Were Too Young’ Mary said: “It was a fantastic day, lovely food, it was magical and I couldn’t believe it. Everyone was so lovely, Alan had such a great day too.”

The other residents at Croft House also got to celebrate the day, as the home organised a singer to entertain everyone, followed by afternoon tea, with cakes made by the residents.

Croft House manager Karen Clarke said: “Mary and Alan have been a joy since they moved in with us and we really wanted to do something special for them.

“Their story is so heartwarming as they are still absolutely devoted to each other after all these years! We organise lots of activities for our residents, and while our Valentine’s Day celebrations include everyone, Mary and Alan have a special relationship that we felt deserved some extra effort.


“It’s important to celebrate love at any age, so providing the two of them with some quality time together was our way of supporting their relationship. The day really helped to bring back all the memories of the wonderful times spent together over the years.

“When Mary joined Alan last year, the two shared a dance together, which made everyone quite emotional. We are all so touched by their lovely story.”

The doting couple met in Shotton Colliery, Alan worked in the colliery pit for 30 years and Mary worked at a Dewhirst clothing factory for 20 years.

When the couple were courting, Alan would write Mary poems in Geordie rhyming slang and even fought his way 1.5 miles from Old Shotton to White City in heavy snow to see her.

Having briefly moved to Peterlee after their marriage they soon returned ‘home’ to Shotton Colliery.

The pair have a son, Ronnie and daughter Kathleen who sadly died last year, they also have four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

When asked what the secret to their long marriage was, Mary said: “Trust.”

Alan added: “It’s because we love each other. We haven’t been married long enough! It means everything to us to be together at Croft House.”