'Moving here saved my life'

John and Deborah Wicholls. Picture by Richard Ponter 184010e
John and Deborah Wicholls. Picture by Richard Ponter 184010e

A move to Scarborough ‘saved the life’ of a woman who came to live here with her husband after falling in love with the town.

John and Deborah Wicholls travelled up to the town for a bank holiday weekend – and little did they know the weekend trip would dramatically change their lives.

John and Deborah Wicholls. Picture by Richard Ponter 184010d

John and Deborah Wicholls. Picture by Richard Ponter 184010d

After their weekend getaway, John said: “We liked the place so much we just decided to pack up and move.”

Once they had settled in, John and Deborah went to Falsgrave surgery for routine health checks and found out that Deborah had kidney problems that would need immediate attention.

John, 56, said: “They told Deborah her kidneys were shot so she would need dialysis or a transplant.”

Deborah, 53, said: “We wouldn’t have found out if we hadn’t moved.

“I never thought anything of it, I just thought it was age.”

Following the news John decided to be tested to see if he would be a possible match and against the odds, he was her perfect match.

John said: “The odds are about one in 100,000 they told me.

“The transplant was three years ago on Tuesday and we’re both absolutely fine.”

Deborah added that she was “over the moon” to find out that John, the first person to be tested, was her a match for her.

Surprisingly, a photo of the kidney now has a pride of place in the couple’s home.

Ersin Ramiz, a friend of John’s from London, said: “We all think that moving to Scarborough saved her life.”

The couple also talked very highly of the doctors and in particular Dr Scarborough.

Deborah said: “I want to say a huge thank you to Dr Scarborough. She helped me through such a rough time and bad journey.

“She did such a thorough job going through my records from before I was her patient here.”

Since moving the couple now also work at Scarborough Hospital, John as a healthcare assistant and Deborah in catering.

John has also had his fair share of health challenges as he had both hips replaced as well as the kidney transplant surgery.

Scarborough has not only provided health miracles for the couple but has significantly changed their life in other aspects.

John said: “Scarborough is a gorgeous place. We even have a dog now called Biriyani.

“In London there was no point in having a dog because there was nowhere that nice to be able to walk it.

“There’s loads of gorgeous places to walk the dog here.”

A love for Scarborough has not only attracted John and Deborah, but Deborah’s two daughters and son have also made the move up to North Yorkshire.

Ersin added: “They are a lovely, caring couple. I was sad when they moved to Scarborough but happy for them at the same time.

“All of our group of friends in London miss them but we do get to visit a least a couple of times a year in what we nickname ‘Farborough’.”