A father with advanced dementia who managed to walk his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day has passed away.
The Guardian reported in September how Ray Turner, 85, donned a smart suit and linked arms with the bride-to-be, Tracy Rezamand, to make her big day even more special.
The father-of-three and grandfather-of-eight was diagnosed with dementia six years ago and was a resident at Hillcroft Nursing Home in Lancaster.
But the Hillcroft team secretly arranged for Ray to attend his daughter’s wedding in Barrow and walk her down the aisle.
Follwoing Ray’s death, his new son-in-law Allan sent the nursing home a letter on behalf of the family to thank the team that looked after him.
He wrote: “We would like to express our sincere gratitude for the levels of care and hospitality that has been given to all of us over the last few years.
“Your team at Hillcroft – day staff, night staff, kitchen staff and agency staff – are a serious credit to your organisation and separate your company from its competitors by a country mile.
“Ever since we first came visiting Ray at the home we have experienced and witnessed a truly personalised level of service for every resident and visitor.
“Also, the general attitude of all the staff is always positive and I know from my experience that keeping your team engaged and positive is a challenge in itself.
“On 1st September 2017 myself and my wife got married in Barrow and we were surprised to find out that Karen and Mel had been in collaboration with our son Tarrick to organise the attendance of Ray to walk Tracy down the aisle.
“This level of going above and beyond is commendable and shows that the job isn’t just a job to them.
“We cannot express our sincere gratitude for this and it seriously made the day unforgettable. A thank you just doesn’t seem enough.
“We have had a great level of care and service from all the team at Hillcroft – going above and beyond is an understatement.They are all excellent role models & deserve to be commended.”
Before her big day, Mrs Rezamand had been resigned to the fact that her father wouldn’t be able to attend, so she had decided that if her father couldn’t walk her down the aisle, no one would.
She said: “For quite a while I had been thinking about how nice it would be to have my father there and to have pictures taken with him, but I knew that I couldn’t expect everybody to make a detour to Lancaster.”
Unbeknown to Mrs Rezamand, Karen Doran and Melissa Baines, who cared for Mr Turner at Hillcroft Nursing Home, had been in contact with her son, Tarrick, and were secretly arranging a way they could bring him.
Mrs Rezamand said: “It meant the world to me to have him there and I can’t thank Karen and Mel enough.”
Mr Turner, who lived most of his life in Barrow, used to work at Kimberley Clark and his dementia diagnosis devastated the family.
Mrs Rezamand said: “It was a total shock when he started showing symptoms. We all started noticing that something wasn’t right, he was forgetting things and he started slurring his words.
“It was very hard when he started to lose his speech but when I saw him on my wedding day his eyes lit up and he smiled at me.”