Wednesday, 21 May 2008

'The war couldn't split us up so why should social services?' say devoted couple who fear they could be separated after 60 years

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They fell in love during World War II and have been together ever since. So Thomas and Iris Bashford should have been looking forward to marking 60 years of commitment and devotion with their diamond wedding anniversary. But social services officials have given them the devastating news that they could be living apart by the time their anniversary comes around later this year. Mr Bashford, an 82-year-old war veteran, may be moved to a care home, while his 81-year-old wife, who is blind and dependent on him, will remain in the couple's sheltered housing. Mr Bashford, in hospital after a heart attack and a number of other health problems, said he was appalled at the treatment he and his wife were receiving. 'I feel pretty grim about the future,' he said. 'The war didn't split us up but now this could. 'I never thought I would see the day when I was separated from my wife. We have both worked our whole life, paying into the system, and I am not happy that we are being treated like this.' Mrs Bashford added: 'I don't want to be without him - I am very upset and angry. Things would have been different years ago. Old people used to be treated differently.' Mr Bashford, who ran a decorating business until he retired, has been told he will be allowed to live in a residential home once he leaves hospital. But he and his wife, a former seamstress, have been told they cannot both move to the home in Southampton.

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