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Mr and Mrs Christmas parted as she dies days before 100th birthday

PUBLISHED: 16:22 08 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:23 09 November 2018

Chris and Kay Christmas celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary at home in Brandon. The couple met in India whilst serving in the army there. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Chris and Kay Christmas celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary at home in Brandon. The couple met in India whilst serving in the army there. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Archant

They were the couple for whom it is Christmas every day. Now Mr and Mrs Christmas, who shared their seasonal surname for 74 years, have been parted after she died just five days before she would have celebrated her 100th birthday.

Kay and Chris Christmas at home in Brandon. The couple were together for 74 years tunil Mrs Christmas death this week. Picture: Sonya DuncanKay and Chris Christmas at home in Brandon. The couple were together for 74 years tunil Mrs Christmas death this week. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Chris and Kay Christmas became well known in their home town of Brandon, where Mr Christmas, a 101-year-old decorated veteran, even turned on the festive lights in recognition of his contribution to the local community.

At the time Mrs Christmas, formerly Kay Carton, who died on Monday, described her marital surname as “absolutely lovely”.

The couple’s daughter Joan Dawes said: “I think she enjoyed it. She was a nursing sister so she liked being Sister Christmas. That probably helped cheer up the patients I would imagine.”

Chris and Kay Christmas get married on May 1, 1944, in India where they were serving in the forces. Picture: Sonya DuncanChris and Kay Christmas get married on May 1, 1944, in India where they were serving in the forces. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Shortly after her death the family received a call from Buckingham Palace to saying the card marking what would have been her 100th birthday was on the way.

“I didn’t tell them she had passed away,” said Mrs Dawes. “I thought she would really like to have it on her coffin, so we’re going to let them deliver it. If she is still around she will be very happy.”

Mr and Mrs Christmas met while serving with the forces, Mr Christmas was a major in the British Indian Army’s 44th Airborne Division at the time, while Mrs Christmas was a nurse with the Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Service.

Kay Christmas was a nurse with the Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Service serving in INdia when she met her husband. Picture: Sonya DuncanKay Christmas was a nurse with the Queen Alexandra Imperial Military Nursing Service serving in INdia when she met her husband. Picture: Sonya Duncan

The pair married on May 1, 1944 before being whisked off to spend their honeymoon near the Himalayas in northern India in a luxury train provided by the Nizam of Hyderabad Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII.

Mrs Dawes said: “I was conceived out there. Mum got sent back when she was six months pregnant. She was sick the whole way on those old boats. It was still during the war so they were being bombed.”

Today the couple have a granddaughter, a grandson, two great granddaughters, whilst a great grandson is due in February.

Mr Christmas joined the army at the age of 16 and served in India, the Middle East and Europe for around 20 years. Picture: Sonya DuncanMr Christmas joined the army at the age of 16 and served in India, the Middle East and Europe for around 20 years. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Mr Christmas is originally from Sussex, whilst Mrs Christmas grew up in Essex, but they moved to Brandon about 25 years ago.

“They love it here and they chose well because all the support they’ve had has been incredible. The neighbours, the carers, the home, even the ambulance trust have all been amazing,” said their daughter, who lives in Tours, France.

Mr Christmas is coming to terms with his wife’s death. “He is an old soldier. He is amazing but he is a bit lost as you can imagine. We are going to wrap him up and take him back to France with us after the funeral. Keep him close for a bit.”

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