An inseparable husband and wife who were due to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary this week died on the same day when illness left them devastated at the thought of living without each other.
Kevin and Christine Shearson, both 64, of Fletcher Way, passed away within hours of each other on Sunday, leaving their four children and 10 grandchildren overcome with grief.
While car-mad Kevin, who had multiple sclerosis, had been in and out of Stoke Mandeville Hospital with health problems over several months, his latest admission was due to be his last as his condition worsened. Though devoted Christine went in to visit him several times, she too developed a severe chest infection and died just floors above her beloved husband.
According to their eldest daughter Kelly Shearson-Lewis, who owns Queensway florist Kelly’s Kreations with husband Rikki Lewis, neither could stand the thought of living without the other.
The loved up pair, who had previously lived in Grovehill for more than 18 years, met while working at a stapling machine factory in Little Gaddesden in 1971 and had been at each other’s side ever since. They enjoyed nothing more than taking caravan holidays together and watching the wildlife at Ashridge.
In a first for the West Herts Crematorium, the husband and wife will share the same casket – a rare practice usually only reserved for mothers and children or twins.
Kelly, 38, said: “The only comfort we have is that they went together – they wouldn’t have been able to suffer each other’s funerals. They absolutely lived for each other and loved each other so much.
“We are devastated. They will be missed tremendously by so many people.
“We want to thank Stoke Mandeville because they were both so well cared for. Mum even had the same nurse on the ward that dad had before he was taken to intensive care.
“It is so important to us they are cremated together because they were never without each other – they will be together again now.”
Family-oriented Kevin and Christine were also the only husband and wife pair to attend social sessions together at the Hospice of St Francis and later Grove House.
This Sunday would have marked their 40th wedding anniversary, and while the family were hoping to plan a celebration together, they are now having to organise their joint funeral.
Kelly explained while the date of the service has not yet been confirmed, details will soon be available from J&S Funeral Directors in Abbots Langley on 01923 262939, and all friends, family and flowers are welcome.