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Inseparable couple married for 65 years die minutes apart

16 November 2014
Harry and Mavis Stevenson met at a social club when they were 16
The couple refused to be without each other after years apart during WWII
Mrs Stevenson was moved into a care home after her health deteriorated
Her husband chose to move with her so that they wouldn't be separated
Mr Stevenson died moments after he was told of his wife's death

He was a dashing D-Day veteran and she a blushing bride in white when they vowed to love each other in sickness and in health.
For 65 years Harry and Mavis Stevenson stayed true to that promise, and when she died just 48 hours after her 89th birthday, he could not bear to be without her.
Yesterday their nephew Stephen Cresswell told how 88-year-old Mr Stevenson died within minutes of his beloved wife after they spent their last night holding hands while they slept in a care home.

He said: ‘The staff told Harry very gently that she had passed away and said he shed two or three tears. Then they tended to Mavis and the next time they looked over at Harry, he was gone.

‘It was less than ten minutes later. He was lying next to her in a separate bed at the time. They shared a room in the home and the staff had pushed the beds together the night before.

‘They told me he was holding her hand all that final night.’

He added: ‘Although it is incredibly sad it is also incredibly wonderful that right until the very end they were together and neither of them had to be alone. Their love lasted and they were devoted to each other. I can imagine them being together now, after their death, side by side.’

The couple from Derby refused to be separated throughout their life. When Mrs Stevenson’s health deteriorated, her husband insisted on moving into the care home as well so he could be with her.

Mr Cresswell, 53, said that Mr Stevenson was in better health than his wife and relatives were not expecting his death on November 3.

The couple met at a social club aged 16 and began courting before Harry signed up to fight in the Second World War on his 17th birthday in 1943. He became a Royal Marine Commando and took part in the D-Day Normandy landings.

Later he was transferred to the Far East to fight the Japanese. But wherever he was he wrote to his sweetheart – even after he was shot in the hand.

In one letter he said: ‘I am glad to know that you are still in love with me. I know you are, Mavis, and you should know that I am very much in love with you.’ Other letters found by Mr Creswell show that Mr Stevenson sometimes wrote to her twice a day – in the morning and in the afternoon.

Mr Cresswell believes the couple’s bond was so strong because they were separated during the war and did not want to ever be parted again.

They married in 1949 and Mr Stevenson found a job as a joiner. He carried on working even after his hand was amputated as a result of lasting damage from his war injuries.

After retiring, he volunteered as a cricket groundsman and umpire and continued to run half-marathons well into his 60s.

Although the couple never had any children, they lavished love on their extended family and were renowned for their Boxing Day lunches.

Mr Cresswell said: ‘They wanted to be together. There was no way of separating them. They were as close as any couple I have known. They never had a serious argument and were soulmates.’

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