11 February 2016
Hallmark Care Homes resident reunites with teenage sweetheart
Hallmark Care Homes has granted a resident’s Christmas wish to reunite with his teenage sweetheart, nearly 70 years after first setting eyes on each other!
Grace Duffin, 85, was chauffeur driven in a Rolls Royce Ghost to the heart-warming reunion with Tony Parkins, 87. When Tony, a resident at Anisha Grange, our care home in Essex, was asked to write down a Christmas wish, he revealed he was desperate to see ex-girlfriend Grace once again.
The pair met at a youth club in 1947, and even after Grace’s heart was stolen by somebody else, they remained close friends. However, mobility issues meant they spent 20 years apart. Hallmark Care Homes granted Tony’s wish after deciding he should be the winner of its festive wish competition called Lucky Star.
Speaking after the private lunch date, he said: “I had a lovely day and I am so grateful to Hallmark Care Homes for arranging this. When they told me at the home that I had won I couldn’t believe it.
“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.”
Grace who was chauffeured to the reunion from her home in Finchley, London hopes her and Tony can meet up again soon. She 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 reminiscing about old times. We talked about how we used to climb mountains and go on bike rides, we’ve done so much together over the years. We’ve travelled and I have gone to places I would of never have 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.”
Both born in Romford, Tony and Grace met at Methodist Youth Club in Gidea Park aged 19 and 17. After they had stopped dating, Tony went on to meet the love of his life in 1954, late wife Joan. Grace’s first marriage didn’t last but then she went on to meet her second husband Ken Duffin and all four remained friends for many years. Sadly, Ken died in 2009.
After the reunion Tony sent Grace a bouquet of her favourite flowers – red roses – with an attached card which read “With love Tony.”
Anisha Grange has offered to facilitate any future visits for the pair.