Couple renew their marriage vows after 70 years of living life to the full
The heart-warming love story of a marriage spanning 70 years has come full circle with a touching ceremony to renew sacred wedding vows.
Not even a global pandemic or a deadly virus could stop 95-year-old John Cook from uttering those special words once again to his beloved wife, Jean.
A resident at Bradeney House nursing home in Worfield near Bridgnorth since last year, John said it had been his dream to echo the scenes of the couple's wedding day – at St Bartholomew's Church in Penn, Wolverhampton, in 1950 – on their 70th anniversary.
WATCH: Couple renew wedding vows 70 years on
But disaster struck when the former senior aerospace engineer was diagnosed with coronavirus in April and was unable to see Jean, 90, who is based in Shawbirch with her daughter Penny Lee.
Becoming very unwell, John battled the virus and recovered three weeks later before care workers moved to make their dream a reality.
It was the second health scare the couple had had after Jean was given a few hours to live, only to stage a surprise recovery after her family had gathered to say their goodbyes.
An official ceremony and reception was organised for the happy couple in the grounds of the care home, where they renewed their vows and reaffirmed their love after time apart.
"We are both really happy after us both being so poorly, we never thought this would happen," said John.
"We had talked about it so many times. It was such a special day, I never expected this to happen."
When it comes to a lengthy relationship, communication is key, said John.
He said: "Whenever we've had a problem we sat down and talked about it, and we always worked on the principle that if we couldn't afford something, we saved up and waited until we could."
Penny said lockdown had been a trying time, made brighter by the care home staff and a particularly meaningful pillow.
She said: "No one was able to visit dad from early March until earlier this month, when my mum and I visited him. This was a difficult period for my dad as he did not understand why visits could not take place, and difficult for the rest of the family. A situation that many families will have been through.
"During the period when visits could not take place, I had a cushion made with a photo of my father on. The video I recorded when I gave it to my mum featured on TikTok, currently standing at more than 484,000 views."
John and Jean spent most of their lives living in Penn, Wolverhampton before moving to Shawbirch, Telford about 13 years ago.
Throughout their life they have been active, enjoying activities together such as motorcycle trail racing and sailing, which led John to build a 30ft yacht in their Wolverhampton garden.
Penny added: "Seventy years of marriage is an amazing milestone that, a few months ago, we did not think they would achieve and be able to celebrate together.
"I can't say how amazing Bradeney House has been, we really can't praise them enough.
"It's been my mum and dad's dream and we never thought it would happen, but since he moved in they've been phenomenal – it's just such a sweet story.
"Hopefully they will also receive a congratulatory card from the Queen."
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