Mr and Mrs Christmas parted as she dies days before 100th birthday
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
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.
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.'
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.
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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 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.'