Bernie is shaken as she meets advanced Motor Neurone Disease friend in Corrie

Bernie is shaken as she meets advanced Motor Neurone Disease friend in Corrie

Since Bernie Winter (Jane Hazlegrove) discovered that her son Paul Foreman (Peter Ash) has Motor Neurone Disease in Coronation Street, she’s quite understandably found it hard to come to terms with the news.

After the initial shock she threw herself into efforts to improve Paul’s life by fundraising for equipment for him and claiming benefits on his behalf. These well-meaning actions have not always gone down well with Paul who has often felt overwhelmed by all the fuss.

‘Paul finds the whole thing really awkward,’ Peter Ash told us. ‘He doesn’t like feeling pitied or being the centre of attention at something like this. He does understand that everyone’s doing it because they want to help and they love him, but he doesn’t feel right about it. And as nice as it is to see everyone there helping him out, it does remind of what he’s been dealt, and the fact that he might not be there that much longer.’

In coming episodes Paul is waiting for an appointment at the MND clinic and finds himself sitting next to a woman called Shelley who he previously met at a support group. On that occasion Paul was unable to cope with the sight of her in her wheelchair as it made him realise what was ahead for him.

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As he talks to her he discovers she has a positive attitude to life that impresses him and she helps him to see things more clearly.

He tells Billy (Dan Brocklebank) that he has something important to ask him, and Billy is overjoyed as he expects it to be a marriage proposal. Sadly Paul has something else in mind, and asks his partner that he wants him to help him to die when the time comes.

‘There’s a lot of reasons, both personally professionally and spiritually, why Billy is against the assisted dying thing,’ Dan Brocklebank told us.

‘Paul basically asks him to help him kill himself when the time comes. That was not what he was expecting. But eventually Paul does ask him to marry him and he is thrilled.’

With wedding plans immediately swinging into motion Summer (Harriet Bibby) starts to list possible wedding venues.

Paul introduces Shelly and her PA, Cags, to Billy and Bernie. Shelly’s disability is more advanced than Paul’s and Bernie is taken aback by seeing the reality of what Paul might be about to face.

Will Bernie be able to recover her equilibrium in time to help with the wedding plans and give Paul the support he needs?

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