A GRANDAD desperately missing his wife who is in a care home has become the first person in Winsford to receive the Covid jab.

Retired vicar Geoffrey Greenhough, 84, says it is the best Christmas present he could ever receive ahead of wife Irene's 86th birthday on Saturday and their 63rd wedding anniversary on Monday.

The Wharton grandad is one of almost 1,000 residents aged over 80 to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech injection today at Dene Drive Primary Care Centre.

Winsford Guardian: Geoffrey and Irene at home with granddaugher Helen and great grandchildren Lucy and EmmaGeoffrey and Irene at home with granddaugher Helen and great grandchildren Lucy and Emma

Geoffrey and Irene at home with granddaughter Helen and great grandchildren Lucy and Emma

Swanlow GP Dr Jon Griffiths said: "Over the course of the day staff from all the GP practices in Winsford will work together to administer our planned 975 vaccines. Staff have all received training.

"We are all really excited as Winsford is a wave 1 site which means that it is one of the first towns in the country to be offering this vaccination in a community setting."

Geoffrey said: "It is an honour. Irene knows I'm having it and she was excited. She hopes to have her vaccine next week."

The devoted couple have not been allowed to meet in the same room since May when diabetic Irene's health deteriorated.

Winsford Guardian: Geoffrey GreeenhoughGeoffrey Greeenhough

Devoted couple Geoffrey and Irene spent every day of their life together since they fell in love in 1955

Until then, the pair spent every day of their life together since they fell in love on a tennis court in 1955.

Dad-of-four Geoffrey hopes the vaccine will pave the way for them to be reunited.

"It would be absolutely wonderful to hold her hand," said Geoffrey, who cared for Irene for six years before she lost the use of her legs. "I am looking forward to giving her a big hug."

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For months they have only been able to talk on the phone.

For the past five weeks, the pair have cherished a half-hour visit speaking to each other on a mobile phone through a conservatory window at Redwalls Nursing Home in Sandiway once a week.

"It has been difficult," said Geoffrey, who has 15 grandchildren and four great grandchildren. "The home has been wonderful, they are limited by government regulations.

Winsford Guardian: Geoffrey and Irene with their family on her 80th birthdayGeoffrey and Irene with their family on her 80th birthday

Geoffrey and Irene with their family on her 80th birthday

"For seven weeks I never saw her. I ring her every day but she is often too weak to pick up the phone. A nurse goes to her room and puts it to her ear. They are so good."

Geoffrey, who worked as a CE minister for 25 years, had a heart attack in 1987 and a triple bypass in 2002.

"I suffer from heart failure," said Geoffrey, who served in the RAF teaching division, training teenage recruits and preparing airmen for exams before he was ordained.

"I'm glad this vaccine has come. Fortunately neither of us has picked up the virus but we are not getting any younger. Irene picked up several infections when she was in hospital. In bad times she asks me if she can come home. It tears your heart.

Winsford Guardian: Squadron Leader Geoffrey and Irene with their children Joy, Rachel, Andrew and Yvonne when he served in the RAF in 1974Squadron Leader Geoffrey and Irene with their children Joy, Rachel, Andrew and Yvonne when he served in the RAF in 1974

Squadron Leader Geoffrey and Irene with their children Joy, Rachel, Andrew and Yvonne when he served in the RAF in 1974

"Throughout our married lives we have spent every day together. I met this dream of a beautiful girl playing tennis. It was love at first sight. We got married two years later.

"We have never had a nasty argument or lost our temper. That is a wonderful thing.

"I always got up first in the morning at 6.30am. I look across and no one is in the bed.

"Now I can only see her through a glass window weekly. I hope this vaccination might be able to let us eventually meet each other."