Illness could force Harpenden couple apart after 54 years of marriage

A COUPLE who have been married more than 50 years may soon have to live in separate towns because they are suffering from severe health problems. Although Robert Baldock is currently receiving respite care at a home in Harpenden, there is no permanent pla

A COUPLE who have been married more than 50 years may soon have to live in separate towns because they are suffering from severe health problems.

Although Robert Baldock is currently receiving respite care at a home in Harpenden, there is no permanent place for him there and he faces being moved to Luton or St Albans.

His wife Dorothy, aged 73, of Porters Hill, Harpenden, has cared for her husband at home for the last two years since the onset of Parkinson's Disease and vascular dementia.

But now she is recovering from cancer after surgery to remove her left breast and is too weak to continue to care for him. She also suffers from angina and a bad back.


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Mr Baldock, aged 75, a former milkman, was admitted for respite care at Willow Court in Aldwickbury, Harpenden, three months ago.

When it became clear several weeks ago that Mrs Baldock could no longer care for her husband at home, Herts County Council's adult care services were informed and a request made for Mr Baldock to stay at Willow Court.

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Mrs Baldock said: "He was so happy there and had settled in well but now we've been told he will probably have to go to Luton or St Albans. I had to tell him that he couldn't stay at Willow Court and it was so distressing because he was in tears.

"If he is moved to another town I can't drive, I'm not that mobile and it means we'll never see each other after being married for 54 years. We are both heartbroken and our health is suffering even more over the anxiety of it all."

The Baldocks have four children but only one, their daughter Joanne Cross, lives locally and she also suffers from health problems.

Mrs Baldock, a grandmother of five, said: "I am a fourth-generation Harpenden person and my husband was born here. We just want to stay here. I feel so down in myself when I should be trying to recover from cancer."

A spokesman for the county's adult care services said: "We are working with the family to try to ensure that appropriate care arrangements are in place.

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