Love is still in the air on Valentine’s Day for veterans at Erskine care home

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By Deborah Anderson

SHE was a passenger on a London to Glasgow bus when she began talking to the regular driver.

On one occasion a delayed journey saw them chat a little more and they soon realised there was a spark.

And now more than 50 years after they first met Siobhan and Bobby Gordon will be celebrating Valentine’s Day today in the home they share at veterans charity Erskine.

They are among many married couples are currently living within three of Erskine’s four homes. Mr and Mrs Gordon celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary last year and say the secret to their long and happy marriage is always to consider your partner first before yourself.

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They were marred on June 22, 1968 at Kensington Registry Office and began their married life in Ayrshire, where Mr Gordon is from, before moving to Linwood, Renfrewshire. In January 2020, the next chapter of their lives began as they moved into rooms beside each other in The Erskine Home.

Before his career with bus operator Western SMT, Mr Gordon served for three years with the Royal Navy during the Second World War. He was on a landing craft carrying fuel and supplies during the D-Day Landings – the largest seaborne invasion in history. He later served in the Far East until the surrender of Japan.

It was a very proud moment for the couple in 2018 when Mr Gordon was awarded the Legion of Honour (Ordre national de la Legion d’honneur) from the President of France – the highest French order of merit.

Robert and Siobhan Gordon, who live at Erskine care home, on their wedding day

Mr Gordon, 95, and Mrs Gordon, 90, have always been a very family orientated couple with the love for their children and grandchildren extending to the many children they have child-minded over the years.

Helen Henderson, manager of Yarrow House in The Erskine Home, said: “We love our residents and it is a privilege to care for them. Bobby and Siobhan are a joy and it is wonderful to witness their strong bond as a couple. For their anniversary last year our senior care assistant Lauren took a photo of them re-enacting the moment they shared on their wedding day. The staff in Yarrow House wish all our residents a lovely Valentine’s Day.”

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Erskine was founded in 1916 to care for service men and women who had been injured in active service. It provides nursing, residential, respite and dementia care in four homes throughout Scotland and also assists younger veterans who need help to begin the next chapter of their lives, offering social, recreation and training facilities at their activity centre and employment opportunities in partnership with Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company.

Robert and Siobhan Gordon will be celebrating Valentine’s Day together

On the Erskine Estate in Bishopton, there are 44 cottages for veterans and their families as well as five assisted living apartments with building work under way of 24 single living apartments, creating a Veterans Village.

During lockdown the veterans connected through regular Zoom meetings. Activities at the Erskine Reid Macewen Activities Centre had to be halted during the pandemic, but veterans have been meeting up regularly online.

To support Erskine go to www.erskine.org.uk/support-our-work/donate/

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