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Alfred Schroeder is the husband of Ena Schroeder and the stepfather of Julie Schroeder, a patient of the nurses who is terminally ill with Hodgkin’s disease, his wife is also expecting her fifth child.

Overview[]

Alfred was originally a Nazi prisoner of war, after wars end he stayed in Britain and met Ena Schroeder who had a five year old daughter called Julie, she was terrified of him as she only heard of Germans being the enemy. The two ended up marrying and Julie commented her going to school with her new surname, Schroeder wasn’t much fun. However the two soon became like a real father and daughter, her calling him dad.

Alfred and Ena had three sons and he worked as a glazier, as some point when Ena was pregnant with their fifth child Julie was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease/lymphoma, a blood cancer affecting the lymphatic system. Julie went through radiation therapy, there wasn’t much else they could do in terms of treatment and so Sister Hilda was sent to help with the painful burns. When there Alfred informs them Ena has not seen a midwife or doctor for six months and is taken on by the sisters.

Julie is informed that the treatment hadn’t worked and there was nothing more that could be done. Despite that Julie still wants to do normal teenager things, like the dance Shelagh Turner is planning called the ballroom of hope. Alfred doesn’t approve of it and would rather she preserve her strength than waste it dancing but doesn’t stop her.

Ena soon goes into labour and Alfred calls the midwives, Julie attends the birth of her sibling. Alfred stays outside and Sister Hilda gets him some tea and bread, it brings him back to his days in Germany where the smell of bread could make his stomach clench. He grew up in the time the economy collapsed, hyperinflation in which a loaf of bread cost 200,000 marks. Because of the lack of food his little sister Berta got sick, so sick she died aged five with her head on his shoulder, she was so light he could scarcely feel her. Berta was the same age as Julie when he and Ena met and when he would look at her he would marvel at how well fed and warm she was, so much that he wondered if she needed his love. But he realised he couldn’t give her his love then or in her current situation. Sister Hilda encourages him the best way to give it is her going to the ball, and dance under the mirror ball, though the planned mirror ball was clumsily broken by Fred Buckle.

Ena gives birth to a baby girl delivered by Nurse Lucille Anderson, Julie then says they should let him in. In thanks Alfred, a glazier decides to fix the mirror ball for the dance, not long after it is fixed Julie begins to feel very weak and Dr Turner diagnoses Anaemia and she needs a blood transfusion but she is adamant she is not having one if it means missing the ball. One is arranged for that day so she can still go.

Julie has her transfusion and is well enough to attend, the whole family goes and Alfred asks for her hand in the fathers and daughters waltz. A hand she happily accepts.

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