A devoted wife said goodbye to her dying husband from her hospital bed using FaceTime – before passing away just a few days after he did.
Eileen Shaw’s cancer fight meant she couldn’t be by Tony’s side as the pair lay on separate wards at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, but the iPhone video calling service meant she still got to say an emotional final farewell.
Shortly after, Tony, who had dementia, died from heart failure and pneumonia, while Eileen, who had lung cancer, died three days later.
Their daughter Jane said: “They were in the Vic together for two days but we could not get them together.
“My mum said goodbye through FaceTime and they both knew then, I think.
“When she was told the news about my dad, it knocked her for six.
She never really recovered. They call it broken heart syndrome.
“She never really recovered. They call it broken heart syndrome.”
The pair, who lived near Cumberland Avenue in Cleveleys and would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in August, will have a joint funeral service at Carleton Crematorium at 10am on Thursday.
Eileen, 78, will have her ashes scattered at several of her favourite places, while Tony, 80, will be interned at a family crypt in Manchester.
Son David, 58, said: “We are doing for her what she wanted, and we are doing for him what he wanted.
“They thought a lot of each other and loved to travel together, but they both had strong personalities and liked their independence.”
The pair first met as teens and later began dating, while marrying in 1951 meant Tony, who served his national service as a wireless operator in the RAF, didn’t have to go to Christmas Island, where his fellow servicemen were exposed to nuclear test blasts.
Tony, who went on to work as a hotel and pub valuer, and Eileen, who worked in promotions for Phillips, moved to Cleveleys in 2002 because of their fondness for the area.
After his dementia worsened, Tony moved to the Kingfisher care home in Cross Way last year, with Eileen, diagnosed with cancer shortly before Christmas, visiting him there every day.
Last month, Tony fell ill and was in hospital for a week before his death on Friday, February 24.
Eileen, who was also admitted for treatment and was transferred to Trinity Hospice in Bispham a few days earlier, died the following Monday.
“They were devoted to each other,” Jane, 50, from Freckleton, added. “They embraced life and led good lives.”
As well as their children, Mr and Mrs Shaw were also survived by their grandchildren Amy, 18, and Sarah, 11.
The family thanked staff at A&E and on the hospital’s Acute Medical Unit and wards 24 and 25, and at the care home and hospice.