A care home in Raynes Park is keeping romance alive for its residents by holding special ‘date nights’ for elderly couples.

Ernest and Joyce Callard have been married for 64 years, but Mr Callard’s need for nursing care meant he moved into Link House, in Blenheim Road, three months ago.

The couple, who are now 85, met when they were just 16-years-old at the Wimbledon speedway track and got married aged 21.

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Food of love: Ernest and Joyce enjoyed their romantic meal

And, after hearing how much the couple missed sharing meals together, the home created their own special date night for the pair on November 7, an idea which was an extra treat for food-lover Mr Callard who worked as a chef at the Dorchester Hotel for 40 years.

Mrs Callard said: “I go to see Ernest five or six times a week, but we never get the chance to sit down and eat together.

“I wanted to dress up, as this was a special occasion for us.”

She added: “I would always cook our meals at home because he’d been doing it all day. Although he would give me tips now and then, I was a good cook and he said he liked my food.

“He sometimes found what was on offer at the Dorchester a bit fancy for his taste!”

Mr Callard said: “We had a lovely time and the food was delicious.

“They made it special for us and I can’t wait until we can do it again.”

Mr and Mrs Callard chose scampi, chips and peas for their romantic dinner, which was held in one of the lounges in Link House.

Manager at Link House, Cristina Capper, said: “Eating together is something we do every day, and couples can really miss that time to sit and chat.

“We created a very special lunch for the Callards because Joyce doesn’t like to go out at night. We want everyone’s date to be exactly how they want it.”