Newspaper photograph captures a unique moment - East Cheshire Hospice

Newspaper photograph captures a unique moment

An old black and white newspaper photograph captures a unique moment in the lives of grandparents Christopher and Christine Jones.

The couple were babes in arms on the image taken in a maternity unit on Christmas Day 1954.

But not only was Chris there on the day his future wife was born – he was also by Christine’s side when she died 69 years later.

A remarkable twist of fate for a couple who were married for 49 years, mostly spent living in Macclesfield.

Christine and Chris Jones celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.

Christine died of bowel cancer at East Cheshire Hospice in January, two years after diagnosis.

Her life will be celebrated by close friend Kathryn Cronin, a florist who has a special installation at the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park from Wednesday, July 17, to Sunday July 21.

Her display called ‘Threshold – On Life and Living’ will raise awareness of the Hospice’s work and its motto ‘where people come to live.’

Flashback to Christmas Day 1954. Christine held by her mum Margaret on the right of the picture. Husband Chris is held by a man with an eyepatch in front of the tree.

Christine appeared in the local paper because she was a Christmas Day baby, like her younger sister Carol.

Husband Chris was born prematurely three months earlier in the same Aberystwyth hospital and was still in the baby unit because his brother had mumps, preventing him from going home.

Dr Jones said: “I think it’s quite unusual that I dovetailed Christine’s life. The photograph shows I was there the day she was born and I was there the day she passed, holding her hand in the Hospice being looked after wonderfully by the staff there.

“We went to the same secondary school and met at a sixth form dance. About two years later we had a chat about Christmas Day babies and that’s when the story came out.”

Christine helped at a playgroup at St John’s Primary School and became a classroom assistant when she joined Westlands and Eaton Bank in Congleton.

Son Paul and daughter Kathryn, and grandchildren Frankie (12), Florence (9), Violet (6) and Eden (6) were also grateful for the way the Hospice cared for Christine.

Christine and Chris with grandchildren (from left) Florence, Violet and Frankie in 2022.  

Dr Jones said: “The Hospice were superb and made you feel like you were the only patient there.

“What brought it home was when we went to collect Christine’s belongings after she passed. Another patient arrives like we did two weeks earlier so the system carries on, but also you feel like family; they were so kind, calming and reassuring.”

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