A couple who devoted their lives to caring for others and had 26 foster children have died of coronavirus – within a week of each other.
Hefin and Valerie Williams, who had two daughters and a daughter-in-law who now work for the NHS, were rushed to hospital just six days apart with Covid-19.
Tragically the couple, who were married for 48 years, died after a short battle with the disease.
Their heartbroken family were not able to say their last goodbyes to the couple, who had four children, six grandchildren and 26 foster children, due to the risk of infection.
Hefin and Valerie Williams (pictured) have lost their lives to coronavirus, leaving their family devastated
Their daughter Andrea Brinksman, 44, who works in a GP’s surgery, has called for people to take the Government’s advice seriously and adhere to the lockdown rules to save lives.
Her sister, Nicola, works in a neo-natal unit and her sister-in-law, Danielle, works in intensive care.
Andrea said: ‘We have been left devastated by what has happened, but we would like to thank all of the NHS staff that have played a part in caring for them in their hour of need – the paramedics, nurses, doctors, care workers, porters and to anyone else that assisted.
‘The hardest part as a family was not being able to say our last goodbyes to them. My sister is a neo-natal nurse, my sister-in-law is an intensive care nurse and I have worked for the NHS for 27 years. Our message is a simple one: stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.’
The couple (pictured in the earlier days of their relationship) fostered 26 children over the years
Valerie, 74, was rushed into hospital on March 21 after developing a dry cough and fever.
Hefin, 80, was taken in a week later by the same ambulance crew after he became dizzy and fatigued and struggled to speak.
Tragically, Hefin died of organ failure on March 30 and Valerie died on April 10 – the day after her husband’s funeral. Andrea added: ‘They both loved to socialise with friends and dad liked karaoke.
‘They loved to go out for coffee and cake and sit and chat to anyone and everyone. Mum and dad spent their whole lives helping others, they were the most selfless people you would ever likely meet.
‘They loved their children, grandchildren and foster children, had time for all their family and friends, they left a lasting impression on everyone they met.
‘Their door was always open, mum’s café was never closed, and dad’s taxi was always available, they loved, laughed, sang and danced their way through life.’
In other developments on another chaotic day of crisis:
- A total of 406 deaths involving Covid-19 in England and Wales registered up to April 3 occurred outside of hospitals, according to provisional figures from the Office for National Statistics;
- No10 chief adviser Dominic Cummings has returned to work in Downing Street after going into self-isolation when Mr Johnson tested positive for coronavirus;
- Government advisers criticised the ‘all or nothing’ approach to lockdown and said there is no evidence that sunbathing presents a transmission risk;
- It was revealed the UK has missed three chances to participate in an EU scheme to buy huge quantities of personal protective equipment (PPE);
- Europe took its first tentative steps towards a return to normality as some countries re-opened businesses
Valerie, originally from Liverpool, retired last year from her role as a care assistant where she looked after the elderly in her hometown of Warrington, Cheshire.
On March 12, she began to show symptoms, including a dry cough, a high fever and body aches, which she managed with paracetamol.
The couple (pictured) have been remembered as a pair who loved to go out socialising and had time for everybody in their lives
The couple self-isolated but Valerie, who had no underlying health conditions, became increasingly fatigued and found her chest was getting much worse.
She was rushed to hospital on March 21 and in the early hours the next morning, she was transferred to the intensive care unit and placed on a ventilator.
Hefin remained at home self-isolating and was not displaying symptoms; however, his family noticed he had become unwell during their daily video calls.
Their son Marc Williams, 42, said: ‘After showing no previous symptoms he felt dizzy and fatigued and could hardly speak. We dashed around and spoke to him as best we could through the window.’
Hefin was rushed to hospital where he was placed on high-flow oxygen for 24 hours before being moved on to a ventilator in the early hours of Sunday, March 29.
Tragically, he suffered multi-organ failure and his family were told by the consultant he would not survive. His treatment was withdrawn at midday on March 30 and he died shortly after.
Valerie remained in intensive care in a stable condition, unaware her husband had died.
Heartbreakingly, she died a week later – just a day after NHS staff lined both sides of the street to applaud as Hefin’s funeral cortege passed the hospital.
The consultant looking after Valerie told her family staff had done all they could for her, but she would not survive and treatment was withdrawn that afternoon.
Marc added: ‘As you can imagine we were stunned by the news having only just said goodbye to dad.
‘The hardest part of this whole situation is the fact that as a family we could not be together and be there for each other.
‘Having to console each other and organise the funeral via FaceTime was heartbreaking for us all. Now it is something we will have to go through again..’
The couple had met at a pub where Hefin was working behind the bar while Valerie was holidaying in his home village of Edern in North Wales.
Hefin and Valerie’s family have thanked the NHS for all of their efforts during the pandemic
They lived in St Helens for a while and had their first child Nicola and they later moved to Warrington, where they settled and raised their extended family.
They had two further children, Andrea and Marc, and fostered 26 children over the years.
They also adopted a fourth child, Sarah, who had come to stay with the family ‘for a couple of days’ at just 15 months old.
Hefin retired from his job at Manchester Airport after 22 years, but remained active by working in his local Asda as a meet and greeter – a job his family said he loved.
Marc said: ‘He would speak to anyone and everyone and it was while working at Asda that a lot of people got to know him.’
Hefin also worked at a local sports and social club, where he became a committee member and bingo caller and later volunteered at Warrington Hospital.
A fundraising page has been set up in aid of the hospital where Hefin and Val were treated. Visit www.gofundme.com/f/in-memory-of-val-amp-hefin-williams to donate.
It came as the national head of ambulance operations at St John Ambulance revealed his pain at his father’s death from coronavirus.
Dan Bevis shared the heartbreaking news on social media in a post in which he spoke of his sorrow at not being able to save him.
Mr Bevis wrote: ‘Yesterday I lost my dad to coronavirus. I’m broken as are my mum, brother and sister. He fought so many health problems, but couldn’t fight this one.’
The hero medic’s tweet has been liked more than 10,000 times and he ended the post by urging people to observe lockdown rules.
Mr Bevis (right) wrote: ‘Yesterday I lost my dad (left) to coronavirus. I’m broken as are my mum, brother and sister. He fought so many health problems, but couldn’t fight this one.’
He said: ‘For those you hold dear, please follow the advice. As a paramedic, I couldn’t save my Dad and that tears me apart.’
Hundreds of social media users have passed on their condolences, including Good Morning Britain host Susanna Reid, who wrote: ‘So so sorry, Dan.’
Fellow paramedic, Matt Stevens, said: ‘Dan, I’m so sorry to hear this. All my love and thoughts to you and your family.’
Kevin Marriott, tweeted: ‘Thoughts very much with you — I lost my disabled brother last week.’
Covid-19 deaths in the UK yesterday reached more than 11,000 after 717 more people lost their lives.
There have been 88,621 cases in Britain — up from 84,279 infections on Sunday as the nation enters its fourth week of lockdown.
Father, wife and daughter die of coronavirus within a fortnight as nursery worker, 21, is denied life-saving transplant after testing positive for Covid-19
By Sebastian Murphy-Bates, Danyal Hussain, Hayley Richardson and Martin Robinson for MailOnline
A family has been left devastated after a father, 84, his wife, 82, and their daughter, 62, all died from coronavirus within two weeks of each other.
Keith and Jean MacVicar from Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire died of the killer illness a fortnight ago and, shortly after, their daughter Jayne developed symptoms.
Her younger brother Richard, 60, charted her battle with the illness on Facebook, calling on friends to pray for her recovery.
Sadly, mother-of-two Jayne passed away from the virus on Saturday, with Richard writing: ‘It’s with heartbreaking regret to say Jayne has lost her battle for life.
Jean MacVicar, 82 (right), with her daughter and mother-of-two Jean, 62 (left). Both mother and daughter have died of coronavirus, within a fortnight of each other
Keith MacVicar, 84 (left), with his son Richard, 60 (right). Keith, his wife Jean, 82, and his daughter Jayne, 62, have all died from coronavirus
‘At least we have the comfort of knowing she is back with mum and dad.
‘To lose half your family in the space of two weeks feels like someone has cut me open and stolen my heart. So, so wrong.’
Before her death, Jayne, a former Staffordshire Police crime analyst, had posted multiple messages on Facebook urging friends to obey social distancing measures.
She even swapped her profile picture for one that read: ‘Stay home, it could save lives.’
The family are now facing three funerals, with Richard telling friends: ‘It’s like a horror movie for the rest of us.’
It’s unclear if the parents and their daughter had any underlying health conditions.
Before her death within days of her parents, Jayne, a former Staffordshire Police crime analyst, had posted multiple messages on Facebook urging friends to obey social distancing measures
Heartbroken son Richard posted on Facebook: ‘To lose half your family (pictured is father Keith) in the space of two weeks feels like someone has cut me open and stolen my heart. So, so wrong’
The tragic deaths come as Britain’s coronavirus death toll surged past 10,000 yesterday, marking a grim milestone in the country’s epidemic.
A further 737 people lost their lives yesterday, bringing the total number of fatalities up to 10,612 as of Easter Sunday.
Cases also hit 84,279 after an additional 5,288 were diagnosed with the infection following 18,000 new tests, down slightly from Saturday.
Only the United States, France, Italy and Spain have officially broken the 10,000-death threshold, making the UK among the worst-hit places on the planet.
Amid the bleak figures, there was a glimmer of good news as Prime Minister Boris Johnson was discharged from hospital after fighting for his life with the virus.
A nursery worker who was waiting for a life-saving liver operation has died after being taken off the transplant list when she tested positive for coronavirus in hospital.
Katie Horne, from Burgess Hill, was admitted around four weeks ago with a severe liver condition.
The 21-year-old from West Sussex went to Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath where it became apparent she needed a transplant.
Katie Horne (pictured) from Burgess Hill was taken off the transplant list when she tested positive for coronavirus
She was then transferred to King’s College Hospital in London, where she tested positive for coronavirus, her sister Emma told the BBC.
Ms Horne then wasn’t able to go on the transplant list and struggled with both the liver condition and coronavirus for 12 days. She was not using a ventilator during her stay.
All organ donors are tested for coronavirus with transplants from infected patients being stopped to minimise risk.
Since the measures came in on March 31, the NHS have prevented some life-saving organs from being transplanted to recipients to stop the spread of the virus.
Donations are not known to transmit the killer bug, but transplant recipients are immuno-suppressed to prevent organ rejection.
Ms Horne’s family say they are ‘completely devastated’ by her death after he life ended on Saturday.
Emma wants her ‘bubbly’ sister’s tragic death to be a ‘wake-up call’ for people to take the pandemic seriously. She said: ‘People need to understand how serious this is.’
Speaking about her sister, she said: ‘If anyone needed anything, you could always count on Kate to be there. She was so full of life and happy. We just can’t believe it — we are absolutely devastated.’
Her heartbroken boyfriend, Jamie Carter, shared his sorrow on Facebook, writing: ‘It’s with great sadness that we have to inform all of Kate’s friends that she sadly passed away this morning at 5.45am of a short illness and contributing to her death is this devastating coronavirus. She will always be loved and will forever be in our hearts.’
Tilly Carter, a friend of Katie’s, also wrote on Facebook: ‘Heaven gained another angel. She will always be loved and will forever be in our hearts.’