Wedding party with Jewish Care residents

20 Jan 2020

FFion and Avi with the some of the Jewish Care team at The Betty and Asher Lotus Centre carers, team leaders and Living Well Team.When Ffion Roberts was working at Jewish Care’s Betty and Asher Loftus Centre as the manager of the Living Well Team, the residents of the Friern Barnet care homes kept asking her when she was getting married. Single at the time, Ffion told them that of course when she did tie the knot, she’d invite them to the wedding.

Fast forward three years and Ffion met Avi Tuscano, a software engineer and RAF reservist. When she told Sylvia Shinegold, who was a resident at Jewish Care’s Lady Sarah Cohen House, Sylvia was delighted to hear Ffion’s news and jokingly asked if she could be a bridesmaid at the wedding.

Ffion had spoken with Sylvia about wartime when, at the age of 18 in January 1940, Sylvia had signed up voluntarily to serve in the RAF Bombing Command. During World War II, Sylvia worked in logistics, calculating out the payloads for the bombers and was mentioned in Dispatches in the King’s Birthday Honours List in 1943. After the War, Sylvia was posted to Egypt, spending 18 months in Alexandria, sending food parcels home whilst there were still rations in the UK.

Ffion says, “Sylvia had been asking if she could meet a serving RAF personnel, so Avi (who came to spend the day with her) dressed in full RAF uniform and attended the Serenata concert at the care home with Sylvia. Sylvia enjoyed the day so much and asked if she could be a bridesmaid at the wedding.”

Sadly, Sylvia, who had been a resident in the home for six years, passed away just a few weeks later in January 2019. Sylvia’s daughter, Michelle Stoops, said, “Mum was extremely fond of both Ffion and Avi and would have really enjoyed their wedding party. They made the last weeks of her life so happy.”

Ffion and Avi were engaged a few months later in March 2019 and married in Oxford on 28th December. Ffion decided that she would keep her word to Sylvia and share their happiness with the Jewish Care residents by holding a wedding tea at the care home for all the residents. Ffion’s mum and dad came from Wales to be with them as well as Jewish Care volunteers and staff.

The celebrations included live entertainment from talented Jewish Care staff who sang as Ffion and Avi enjoyed a wedding dance, as well as a dancer who led a north Indian Kutta dance and got everyone joining in with some Bollywood dancing.

Ffion said, “The afternoon was so much more than we thought it would be, and I’m so grateful to everyone who came and who helped us organise it all. It’s because of Sylvia and the other residents that we wanted to share our celebration.”

Avi said, “It’s been really lovely. I didn’t want to have big wedding celebrations but I’m really pleased that we did.”

Ffion and Avi, will soon be travelling to Bangalore, India for part three of their wedding celebrations with Avi’s family.