A newlywed pensioner couple have urged everyone to get vaccinated as they became two of the first to get the jab at a new large-scale centre.
Geoff Holland, 90 and his 86-year-old wife Jenny were only marred in August after they met at the Town View independent living centre, where they live in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.
On Monday, Mr Holland’s daughter, Kathryn, said: “It’s fantastic that they are getting the vaccine so their love story can continue.”
As they got their jabs of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in a cavernous former Wickes DIY store, Mr and Mrs Holland described how coronavirus has meant they only managed to marry in August at the third time of trying – and with just four guests to celebrate.
Mrs Holland said: “We’ve been well looked after while we’ve been here.”
She said: “People have worked long and hard to get this vaccine so I think people ought to have it.”
Married five months
Mr Holland said: “We’ve only been married five months.
“We had to try three times with pandemic.
“We managed it on the third time.”
His wife said: “It was Geoff’s birthday at the beginning of April and we were going to celebrate that, his 90th, and, of course, that all went pear-shaped.
“And then we were going to get married on my birthday and that all fell through as well.
“We just kept making inquiries and then we got married at the register office.”
Mrs Holland said: “Originally, when we were going to get married, we had everything planned.
“We had the buffet bought and half paid for, and, for all that to go.
“But, never mind.
“As long as we’re married and we’re happy together.”
But she found married life “brilliant”.
And she added: “Hopefully, one day soon, we’ll be able to have a get together and celebrate with our family and friends who couldn’t be there on the day.”
Asked how they met, Mrs Holland said: “Geoff came and sat at our table, we got talking and it just went from there.”
And she championed getting married late in life “as long as you find the right person”.
Mr and Mrs Holland said they both tested positive for coronavirus a couple of months ago after Mr Holland was feeling a bit under the weather and they got tested.
But both got through it without developing major symptoms.
Mr Holland’s daughter, Kathryn Turner and her husband, Roger, of Mansfield Woodhouse, said that they only see the couple very briefly when they drop off shopping.
Mrs Turner said: “We have missed them so much.
“They are so in love and such lovely people.
“It’s fantastic that they are getting the vaccine so their love story can continue.
“They are so independent and do everything together.
“Hopefully this will help us all get back to some sort of normality.”
Mrs Turner said that her father’s life had changed completely as a result of meeting Jenny in the summer 2019.
They got engaged the following New Year’s Eve.
20 years younger
She said: “He needed either a walking frame or a mobility scooter but meeting Jenny has taken years off him – he looks 20 years younger.
“He only uses a walking stick now but sometimes he even forgets about it because he’s so busy holding her hand.”
The Mansfield Vaccination Centre has joined 31 other new sites opening across England this week.
People aged 75 and over who live within a 45-minute drive of the centre are being invited to book their vaccination, the NHS said.
Amanda Sullivan, accountable officer for NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “From the nurses, doctors and pharmacists to the cleaners, security guards and volunteers – it’s been a real round-the-clock effort to transform this site.
“Thank you to everyone involved.”