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  • ‘So much living to do’: stories of UK’s latest named coronavirus victims


    Though these deaths didn’t occur in the United States, it’s important to remember our brothers and sisters across the pond! They represent every walk of life, age, race and creed. Covid-19 does not recognize borders, religion, race, occupation or age.

    SO MUCH LIVING TO DO’: STORIES OF UK’s LATEST NAMED CORONAVIRUS VICTIMS…. Personal details have emerged of more than 50 people who have died in the Covid-19 pandemic

    By Matthew Weaver, Helen Pidd and  Simon Murphy | Published:12:19 Fri April 3, 2020 | The Guardian | Posted April 05, 2020 |

    The oldest is 108, the youngest only 13. These are the faces of some of the country’s coronavirus victims, among them doctors, councillors, a D-day veteran, a diplomat, a comedian and an academic.

    By 4pm on Thursday 2 April, 3,605 people admitted to hospital in the UK had died after contracting Covid-19. Many were elderly and had underlying health conditions. Some did not.

    In several cases, family members and medical professionals have been keen to emphasise that victims had their lives cut short. Even if they were suffering underlying health conditions, they had been expected to live for many years, they said.

    Of the deaths so far in the UK and those connected to the country, details have emerged in more than 50 cases. Here are their stories.


    Lord Gordon of Strathblane, 83

    James “Jimmy” Gordon was formerly political editor of STV and founded Radio Clyde. He is understood to have died of Covid-19 at Glasgow Royal Infirmary on Tuesday 31 March.

    Outside the media, Gordon was a member of the Scottish Development Agency and chaired the Scottish Tourist Board – later VisitScotland – and was made a life peer by Labour in 1997. A statement from his family honoured “his generosity, his kindness and his enthusiasm for life”, adding that being “Papa” to his four grandchildren was the role that had brought him most pleasure. The former first minister Jack McConnell said Gordon had had “an outstanding career in business and public service” and had “transformed broadcasting”. The comedian and radio host Andy Cameron, who worked at Clyde for a number of years, said: “Another good guy gone. Jimmy Gordon, Lord Gordon Of Strathblane has passed on. What an absolute gentleman. RIP Jimmy.” He leaves behind his wife Anne, three children and four grandchildren.


    Aimee O’Rourke, 38

    O’Rourke was an NHS nurse and mother of three girls, Megan, Mollie and Maddie. She died on 2 April at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent – the hospital where she worked. She studied at Canterbury Christ Church University before joining the NHS in 2017. She started showing symptoms of the coronavirus about two weeks ago before her condition deteriorated and she was taken into intensive care at the QEQM and put on a ventilator.

    Her daughter, Megan Murphy, wrote on Facebook that it had always been “us 4 against the world!”, and said she and her sisters would now look after each other. “Look at all the lives you looked after and all the families you comforted when patients passed away … you are an angel and you will wear your NHS crown forever more because you earned that crown the very first day you started,” she wrote. Now a family friend has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for O’Rourke’s family.

    A colleague, Lucy Page, wrote: “Aimee O’Rourke taught me to fight for what I believe in and gave me courage so many times to do it.” Another colleague, Soraya Zanders, said:“Aimee cared for many patients in her time as a nurse. She brought warmth and comfort to many.” On the evening of the day she died family and friends lit candles and clapped in her honour during the weekly Clap for Carers.


    Areema Nasreen, 36

    Nasreen was an NHS nurse who had worked for 16 years at Walsall Manor hospital in the West Midlands, where she died on 3 April after contracting the coronavirus. Nasreen, who had three children and was from Walsall, developed symptoms on 13 March, including aches, a high temperature and then a cough. Her family said she had no underlying health issues. Her sister Kazeema Nasreen, 22, a healthcare assistant at the same hospital, said Nasreen was “an amazing nurse” and urged others to take the virus seriously. In a tribute posted on Facebook, her friend Rubi Aktar said: “She was the most loveliest, genuine person you could ever meet, she went above and beyond for everyone she met. I’m so grateful that I had the honour to call her my best friend, she saw me at my best and my worst and accepted my every flaw. I am so broken that words can’t explain.”

    A relative told Birmingham Live: “The immediate family are devastated. Everyone is in shock this morning. She was always so full of life. She was devoted to her job as a nurse, she absolutely loved it. She passed away doing what she loved. I’m really sad for the rest of the family, she was a fantastic person.”


    Danny Sharma, 38

    Sharma was an avid fan of Liverpool Football Club and devoted much of his time to amateur football. The 38-year-old was considered to be high-risk because of his diabetes and other health conditions, and he died on 26 March after battling with coronavirus in intensive care at Hammersmith hospital in London. On 24 March, Sharma posted a picture of himself making the thumbs-up sign, and wrote: “Day Four Update. Looks nice out from the window wish I was participating in the Vitamin D. Finding hard to breathe, still fighting.”

    The 38-year-old attended St Paul’s College in Sunbury-on-Thames before studying computer applications at Kingston University. His brother Vinny said he wanted Sharma’s death to make people take the threat of the coronavirus seriously. “He was a fantastic guy with a big heart, and he is someone who we are going to miss a great deal. Hopefully he will find some peace,” he said. Luke Thompson called his friend the “most selfless individual I ever met.” Traditionally the Sharma family, who are of Indian heritage, would hold an open house for 12 days after a death to enable people to pay their respects – but both Sharma’s brother and mother, Parveen, had to self-isolate because of their close contact with the 38-year-old.


    Danny Cairns, 68

    Cairns was one of the first Scots to die after contracting the coronavirus to be named publicly. He had tried to self isolate at his home in Greenock in Renfrewshire but after a few days became so ill he was transferred to hospital, where he died on 26 March. His brother Hugh, who lives in the United States, said the experience was a “nightmare” for the family. “He wasn’t just my brother, he was my best friend,” he said. “From the time of going into hospital within three days he was dead. His last words to me were, ‘I’m on my way out mate’.”


    Sheila French, 80

    French from Broughty Ferry, a suburb of Dundee, died after six days in Ninewells hospital intensive care on 27 March. She had been admitted after becoming ill on a family holiday in Lanzarote to celebrate her 80th birthday. Her family spoke of the pain of not being able to visit her in hospital, but her son Colin said dedicated NHS staff were determined to ensure her “comfort and dignity right to the end”. Originally from Glasgow, she married Eric French in 1962. The couple were well-known figures in the local community and shared a lifelong love of tennis.

    The 80-year-old sang in the Barnhill St Margaret’s parish church choir for more than four decades. Her son said she was “interested in so many things”, including music, singing and reciting poetry. “She was also always surrounded by wool for knitting and crochet,” he told the Dundee Courier. “Her main thing in recent years was crocheting blankets to raise money for charities including Chas, and she also collected for Save The Children.”


    Dr Habib Zaidi, 76

    Family GP Dr Zaidi is thought to be the first doctor in the UK to have been killed by the coronavirus. The 76-year-old, from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, died on 25 March in intensive care just 24 hours after being taken ill. He and his wife, Dr Talat Zaidi, 70, were both managing partners of Eastwood group practice and had served three generations of families in the area for nearly 50 years. The couple’s four children all work in the medical profession. Daughter Dr Sarah Zaidi, also a GP, said his death was “reflective of his sacrifice. He had a vocational attitude to service.” She added: “We can’t mourn in the normal way. We can’t have a normal funeral. He left a gaping hole in our hearts, but a loss that is also felt within the community that he devoted almost his entire life to. We are praying for the safety of everyone right now.”

    Dr Jose Garcia-Lobera, GP chair at NHS Southend clinical commissioning group, said Zaidi had left behind an “incredible legacy”. He said: “[He] was a “hugely respected, selfless man who dedicated his life to helping others. Dr Zaidi will always be remembered for his significant contribution to local health services through his long career as a GP.”


    Mark Barnett, late 60s

    Barnett was the headteacher at Westfield in Acomb, one of York’s biggest primary schools, for more than 17 years when he stepped down in 2008 aged 55 to work for the City of York council as a consultant headteacher. His family confirmed that he was taken into York hospital with breathing difficulties and died of Covid-19 on 1 April. Praised as a deeply committed teacher, he was a recipient of the Teacher Of The Year title at the Community Pride Awards.

    Cllr Andrew Waller, a school governor at Westfield who knew Barnett well, said: “He was an inspirational headteacher and a legend in the community. Everyone knew Mark and he had a huge amount of respect.” Singer and former teacher Ian Donaghy said: “Mark was all about the children and not himself. You see a lot of career teachers out there, but Mark wasn’t one of them. The city has lost a big, big influence on children. His big thing was happy kids learn, it’s not about jumping through hoops or league tables. We could do with a few more like Mark.”


    Eddie Large, 78

    Large, best known as one half of the comedy duo Little and Large, died after contracting the coronavirus in hospital where he was being treated for heart failure, his son said.

    The Glaswegian comedian, whose real name was Edward McGinnis, found fame alongside Syd Little in the 1970s and 80s, when their TV performances attracted millions of viewers.

    His son, Ryan McGinnis, broke the news in a Facebook post on 2 April, explaining that his father had caught Covid-19 while in hospital. He wrote: “It is with great sadness that Mum and I need to announce that my dad passed away in the early hours of this morning. He had been suffering with heart failure and unfortunately, whilst in hospital, contracted the coronavirus, which his heart was sadly not strong enough to fight. Dad had fought bravely for so long. Due to this horrible disease we had been unable to visit him at the hospital, but all of the family and close friends spoke to him every day.

    “We will miss him terribly and we are so proud of everything he achieved in his career with Syd and know that he was much loved by the millions that watched them each week.”


    Caroline Saunby, 48

    Saunby, a mother of two young boys, had no known underlying health conditions and started exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms on Thursday 26 March. By Sunday, she had died.

    She collapsed at her home in New Marske, North Yorkshire, where she had begun to struggle for breath after initially having a sore throat, which she thought was tonsillitis. An air ambulance was dispatched and Saunby was put on a ventilator at home before being taken to James Cook University hospital in Middlesbrough, where she died the same day. She leaves behind her husband, Vic, and six-year-old twins, Joseph and Elliot.

    Her twin sister, Sarah Jarvis, described her “unbearable heartbreak” as she pleaded with people to take the coronavirus seriously. She told the Northern Echo: “Caroline took every precaution under the sun. She was practising social distancing, she was washing her hands, took hers and everyone’s safety seriously, was healthy, yet she was taken from us in only four days. This virus does not discriminate.”


    Paul Ramsden, 80

    It was only when Ramsden’s wife, Jacky, struggled to wake him that it dawned on her something was seriously wrong. Paul was fit for his age and had no known underlying health conditions.

    He fell ill soon after the couple returned from the Canary island of La Gomera. Jacky said Ramsden’s only obvious symptom was tiredness, but when she tried to rouse him from his sleep on 22 March, the penny dropped. He died five days later.

    Jacky, from Lytham near Blackpool in Lancashire, told the Blackpool Gazette: “It’s very clear that while the vulnerable are susceptible to this virus, it also strikes down fit and healthy people. I wish people to take the government guidelines seriously and to abide by them so we can avoid further heartbreak. I feel lucky to have enjoyed 40 years of love and adventure with Paul, but I am saddened that our marriage has been cut short in this way.”


    Linda Tuppen, 66

    A former nursery nurse and teacher, Tuppen died from suspected coronavirus after caring for her son, who is also thought to have caught the disease. She was found lifeless by her son, Rob, on 28 March, a day after she had refused to speak to NHS’s 111 service when she fell ill, deciding to sleep instead.

    Tuppen – who suffered from asthma – had been looking after Rob after he developed Covid-19 symptoms following his return from Krakow, Poland, earlier last month, but then began to feel unwell herself.

    Her other son, 23-year-old James, was admitted to hospital a day later with coronavirus symptoms. In an interview with MEN, Rob recalled the moment he found his mother at her home in Bolton, Greater Manchester. “I was in a panic, she was just lay there, and I shouted ‘Mum, mum,’ but she didn’t answer,” the 28-year-old software engineer said. “I was doing chest compressions until the ambulance came. I was still in the room when he came over and said she was gone. It’s devastating. We lost our father in 2008, so we’re pretty much on our own now.

    “She was a kind, loving lady who adored me and James and would have done anything for us. She always used to say that we were her lives. She would do anything for anyone.”


    Thomas Harvey, 57

    The NHS healthcare assistant caught coronavirus and died after treating patients with only gloves for protection, according to his family.

    It is claimed Harvey fell ill after helping a patient who later tested positive for Covid-19 and eventually died on 29 March. He had been signed off work more than two weeks earlier when he developed symptoms including a cough, shortness of breath and body aches.

    His family said that if he had had the correct personal protective equipment, he might still be alive. Goodmayes hospital in east London claims there were “no symptomatic patients on the ward”. But a former colleague told the BBC that Harvey contracted the virus after treating a patient who later tested positive.

    Harvey’s daughter, 19-year-old Tamira, told the BBC: “It’s so sad. I feel like he was let down in so many ways. It’s an absolute tragedy and he didn’t deserve to lose his life in the way he did. If he had just had the right equipment, we wouldn’t be in this predicament and it wouldn’t have escalated in the way it did.”


    Peter Sinclair, 73

    Sinclair was a professor of economics and a former tutor to David Cameron. He taught the future prime minister during his time at Oxford before joining the University of Birmingham in 1994. He later became director of the Bank of England’s Centre for Central Banking Studies. Cameron described him as “one of the cleverest people I ever met” and said he had inspired “generations of students”. He added: “It was a complete privilege to know him.” Sinclair died in intensive care on 31 March after testing positive for coronavirus.


    Alfa Saadu, 68

    Saadu was a distinguished former medical director of Princess Alexandra hospital NHS trust in Harlow, Essex. He grew up in Nigeria and travelled to the UK to train as a doctor at University College London. He retired in 2016 after a 40-year career in the NHS. He was volunteering at his local hospital in Welwyn, Hertfordshire, one of the counties worst hit by coronavirus, when he became infected. He died after a two-week battle with the disease, according to his son Dani. Dani said: “My dad was a living legend, worked for the NHS for nearly 40 years, saving people’s lives here and in Africa. Up until he got sick he was still working part-time saving people.”


    George Mason, 71

    Mason and his twin brother, Malcolm, had been cutting hair in the same barber shop in Gosport, Hampshire, since they trained together as teenagers. In a statement, the Mason’s Barber Shop said he “always brought laughter and happiness and it will be so hard not working alongside him any more”. Speaking to Solent News, Malcolm said: “George was good fun – we had our moments like all brothers do, but got along brilliantly. He was a real family man and cared deeply about those around him.” As he began suffering from the virus, George told his brother he “wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy”. He was placed on a ventilator last weekend and never recovered. He is survived by his wife, Bobbie, his children Joanna and Natalie and grandchildren Hannah and Ben.


    Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, 13

    The rare death of someone so young from coronavirus has prompted widespread shock and concern. Ismail, who had no underlying health conditions, died on 30 March at King’s College hospital, London, after testing positive for Covid-19. Ismail, who had six siblings, lived in Brixton, south London. His family said they were “beyond devastated”. In a later statement they said: “Ismail was a loving son, brother, nephew to our family and a friend to many people who knew him. His smile was heartwarming and he was always gentle and kind.”


    Luca Di Nicola, 19

    Di Nicola was a chef from Nereto, near the Adriatic coast of Italy, who was living with his mother and her partner in Enfield, north London. He died on 24 March in North Middlesex hospital. His death was announced on the same day as Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab’s. A postmortem revealed that Luca had Covid-19. His aunt Giada told La Repubblica that a GP had prescribed him paracetamol for a cough and fever. She said the doctor had told him “he was young, strong and [had] nothing to worry about”.


    Harold Pearsall, 97

    Pearsall was a hero of the D-day landings who was awarded the Légion d’honneur for his part in the allied assault on Caen in 1944. He landed on Juno Beach along with the Royal Artillery. “We never fired a round. When that first shell came in, I could have crawled down a worm hole,” he said last year at an event to mark the 75th anniversary of D-day. His unit went on to suffer heavy losses as it was attacked with phosphorous bombs and grenades, he said of the Caen operation. He died in Birmingham’s Good Hope hospital on 27 March after testing positive for Covid-19. Pearsall had two sons and had been an active member of D-day veterans’ groups. “He was very proud and always clean, smart and tidy,” said Peter Lloyd, secretary of the 1944 Alliance Normandy-Market Garden veterans’ association.


    Andrew Jack, 76

    Jack was a dialect coach and actor who appeared in three Star Wars films. He died in hospital in Surrey on 31 March. His wife, Gabrielle Rogers, also a dialect coach, tweeted: “We lost a man today. Andrew Jack was diagnosed with coronavirus two days ago. He was in no pain, and he slipped away peacefully knowing that his family were all ‘with’ him.” Jack lived on one of the oldest working houseboats on the Thames. According to his agent, Jill McCullough, he was fiercely independent but also madly in love with his wife. He appeared in Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi as General Ematt, as well as Solo: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. He had been working as dialect coach on a new Batman film. Sam Neill was among many actors to pay tribute. He said Jack was a “lovely man” and “joy to work with”.


    Maria Lawrence, 48

    Lawrence ran a business selling gift bags in Derby. According to her son, Dan Clark, she was also a “community champion” in the city and founded a Secret Santa scheme which she ran for free. Speaking to the Derby Telegraph, he said: “She was like an angel and very well regarded in the community. She was selfless too. Nothing was done for herself. She ran all these things out of charity.” Lawrence was unaware she had any health problem until she was diagnosed with coronavirus. Further tests revealed she also had vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels, worsened by Covid-19. She died at Royal Derby hospital on 20 March.


    Frank Rust, 81

    Rust was a Labour councillor for Rushmoor borough council for 28 years, and was due to serve a second stint as mayor next year. A passionate Spurs fan, he was a retired NHS manager and had also held senior posts in education. The former Labour cabinet minister Hazel Blears was among those sending tributes, describing him as a “lovely man”. His son Karl wrote: “Sorry dad you were added to the pandemic stats today but you were not a victim or casualty in these dark days. You lived life to the full never stopping learning new things, keeping active, helping people and the community you represented. You were a good dad. I am pleased you had enough time to enjoy being a grandad to Archie.” Rust died on 30 March at Frimley Park hospital, Camberley, Surrey.


    Pat Midgley, 82

    Midgley was a Labour councillor in Sheffield for 33 years, and was described by her family as a “true woman of steel”. The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, was among many figures in the Labour party to praise her years of service. In a message to her son Neil, McDonnell said: “The flood of tributes to your mum shows just how loved she was and how respected for her dedication to her community to the end.” Julie Dore, the leader of Sheffield city council, said: “I am heartbroken. This makes coronavirus all the more real.” Midgley was admitted to Sheffield general hospital on 24 March and was confirmed positive with Covid-19 a day later. She died on 29 March. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, three children and five grandchildren.


    Frank Hammond, 83

    Hammond died in Stepping Hill hospital in Stockport on 26 March. He tested positive for coronavirus despite having no cough and only a mild temperature. His daughter, Trisha Conroy, paid tribute to a “lovely, funny man who always wanted to make people laugh”. He enjoyed art and making scraperboard images and loved walking in the nearby Peak District. A photography enthusiast who worked in a Jessops camera shop for many years, Frank had suffered from chronic lung disease and had reduced mobility but was otherwise in good health before he fell ill, Trisha said: “He used a walking frame in the house and a mobility scooter when he was out after he lost a lot of the strength in his legs but was otherwise in decent shape.” He is survived by his wife, Brenda, daughters Trisha and Claire, and four grandchildren.


    Christopher Vallely, 79

    Vallely died in Belfast’s Mater hospital just hours after his wife, Isobel, passed away in the same hospital room. Earlier this year, he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. He was admitted to hospital and placed in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19. Vallely, who was known as Arty, retired to his native Belfast in 2003 after working for decades in England. He lived near the Falls Road in west Belfast. He died on 29 March.


    Isobel Vallely, 77

    Vallely died on 28 March, the day after the couple’s 53rd wedding anniversary. She had had a stroke last year, and was admitted to hospital on 26 March after testing positive for coronavirus. Her daughter Fiona said both Isobel and Christopher were “amazing parents”. She added: “They were fantastic people who did not deserve to go this way.”


    Amged El-Hawrani, 55

    A respected ear, nose and throat consultant who worked at Queen’s hospital Burton in Derbyshire, El-Hawrani was the first confirmed hospital frontline worker to die in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus. His death prompted tributes from ministers and senior health leaders. In a statement, his family said: “His greatest passions were his family and his profession, and he dedicated his life to both. He was the rock of our family, incredibly strong, compassionate, caring and giving. He always put everyone else before himself.” He died on 28 March at Leicester Royal Infirmary.


    Hilda Churchill, 108

    Believed to be oldest coronavirus victim in the UK, Churchill was a survivor of the 1918 Spanish flu. She died in a Salford care home on 28 March, hours after testing positive for Covid-19 and just eight days before what would have been her 109th birthday. Before she died, she had been reminiscing about the Spanish flu, according to her grandson Anthony Churchill. She and most of her family in their home in Crewe had become infected, including her father, who collapsed in the street with the flu, she recalled. They all survived apart from her 12-month-old baby sister. “Grandma said she remembered a small box being put in a carriage,” her grandson said. “She was saying how amazing it is that something you can’t see can be so devastating.” Hilda was a seamstress who moved to Salford during the depression to find work. She was known for her cooking skills, particularly her gravy. She had four children, 11 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.


    Adil El Tayar, 63

    Tayar was the first working NHS surgeon known to have died from Covid-19 in the UK. He had been volunteering in A&E departments in the Midlands to help the NHS cope with the virus. “He wanted to be deployed where he would be most useful in the crisis,” said his cousin, the broadcaster Zeinab Badawi. “It had taken just 12 days for Adil to go from a seemingly fit and capable doctor working in a busy hospital to lying in a hospital morgue.” His former colleague Abbas Ghaznafar, a renal transplant surgeon at St George’s hospital in Tooting, described Tayar as a “noble human being” who was a “hardworking, dedicated surgeon”. He died on 25 March at West Middlesex University hospital, London.


    Pooja Sharma, 33

    Sharma was a hospital pharmacist who died from the virus a day after it claimed the life of her father. She worked at Eastbourne District general hospital in East Sussex. Lara Stacey Young, a nurse in the area, said: “So many people will be devastated. She was such a lovely soul.” Amarjit Aujla, a friend from childhood, said: “Her laughter was contagious and her random calls made my day. From when we were in primary school until we last spoke two weeks ago, you gave me nothing but love, support and a tummy ache with all the laughter.” She died on 26 March.


    Sudhir Sharma, 61

    Sharma was an immigration officer at Heathrow Terminal 3. He died on 25 March, a day before his daughter also succumbed to the virus. It is unclear whether the pair had any contact before both contracted the disease. Sharma had health problems and had not been on duty at Heathrow since early January. Nick Jariwalla, director of Border Force at Heathrow, said: “Sudhir was a very well-respected, kind and experienced officer. He will be greatly missed by everyone.”


    Adam Harkins Sullivan, 28

    Harkins Sullivan, from Camden, north London, was a painter and decorator and father to a six-year-old son. He worked with his father who gave him his nickname, Spud. Speaking to the Camden New Journal, his mother, Jackie Harkins, said: “I’ve lost something very precious to me that can never be replaced. We are all just in shock because he was only a young man. He was healthy – you didn’t have to tell him to eat his greens, he was always like that.” An otherwise fit man, he had been taken to hospital with suspected pneumonia. He died on 24 March at University College hospital in London in an isolation ward for coronavirus patients.


    Doreen Hunt, 72

    Hunt was born in 1947 in Canning Town, east London, into “extreme poverty”, said her son Steve Hunt, adding that she was brought up in “one of the poorest families in a poor area”. After leaving London for Dunstable in 1973, Hunt ran an insurance business for many years with her husband, John, in the Bedfordshire town. “She became as successful in business as she was as a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother,” her son said. “She travelled the world and enjoyed a rich and varied life.” Hunt had been on dialysis for kidney problems at Luton and Dunstable hospital but her condition deteriorated rapidly and she was admitted to intensive care last Friday. She died two days later, on Mother’s Day, her family said. After her death, tests results confirmed she had been infected by the coronavirus.


    Steven Dick, 37

    Dick was the UK’s deputy ambassador to Hungary. He had been with the Foreign Office since 2008 and had previously served in Kabul and Riyadh. His parents, Steven and Carol Dick, said: “Steven was a much-loved son, grandson and nephew. He was kind, funny and generous. It was always his dream to work for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and he was very happy representing our country overseas.” Shaun Walker, the Guardian’s central and eastern Europe correspondent, said: “He was a jovial, intellectually curious and extremely helpful person. He spoke fluent Hungarian, having undergone a year’s training before taking up his position last autumn. Early last week he helped coordinate arrangements for me to get back into the country, and mentioned that he had tested positive for coronavirus, but at that time said he was feeling fine.”


    Allan Oldcorn, 74

    Oldcorn was a retired lorry driver for Bowater-Scott, which manufactured tissues and toilet rolls. Wendy Cavin, one of his three daughters, fondly remembers him leaving sweets for her and her sisters on the family mantelpiece in Flookburgh, Lancashire, when he was doing night shifts. Speaking to the Cumberland News and Star, she said: “He was the go-to man when it came to Flookburgh charter fair day, when everybody needed toilet rolls to make their float flowers.” She added: “He was an amazing husband, dad, grandad and great-grandad – the anchor of our family.” Oldcorn, who had been “fit and healthy”, died on 21 March, a day after being admitted to hospital with shortness of breath and backache. Doctors later confirmed he had tested positive for coronavirus, Cavin said on Facebook.


    Michael Gerard, 73

    Gerard was a teacher, musician, campaigner and lifelong Guardian reader. His daughter, Sushila Moles, described him as “loving, kind and always supportive”. She said he made up daily limericks and entertained her with bizarre conversations. Gerard grew up in Shortlands in Bromley, south-east London. He met his wife, Caroline, at Durham University and the couple both worked as teachers in Leicester. Later Gerard specialised in teaching visually impaired children. Moles said: “He was a hoarder, which worked well for this occupation as he always had a boot full of noisy toys and tinsel that he used to help children.” He played many musical instruments but was most accomplished at the violin and founded several orchestras and bands near his home in Clarendon Park, Leicester. He was a Woodcraft Folk leader for 30 years, a former president of the Leicester Secular Society and a frequent attender of anti-war demonstrations. In later years he had a number of health problems including Crohn’s disease. He was diagnosed with Covid-19 on 18 March and died four days later at Leicester Royal Infirmary.


    Jon Jacob, 69

    Jacob was a successful property lawyer and partner at the London firm Bower Cotton Hamilton, who lived in Chesham, Buckinghamshire. He was a stalwart of quiz leagues in London and the Chilterns, known for his formidable knowledge of classical music. A friend said Jacob “wore his knowledge lightly, and was very modest and self-effacing, always genuinely surprised to be told how good he was. He was also a lovely man: kind, generous and absolutely delightful company. He will be sorely missed by all his friends in the quizzing family.” Paddy Duffy, another fellow quizzer, tweeted: “Just a lovely man, brilliant fun and incredibly erudite. I’ll remember fondly our Sunday matches and our japes on the quiz holiday in Rhodes.” Jacob died on 23 March of complications from Covid-19.


    Ruth Burke, 82

    Burke was the fourth victim of coronavirus in Northern Ireland, according to her daughter Brenda Doherty. She said her mother had “unbelievable strength and suffered many challenges in her life”, adding: “Unfortunately this was one that she was not going to overcome.” In an emotional video on Facebook she said: “We couldn’t be with her when she passed. We’ll not see her coffin, we’ll not get to kiss her.” Doherty urged the public to stop panic-buying and stay indoors. “My mum would not have believed how people are behaving. She would have thought better of society. My mum was a woman who loved life. If you value life, you will stay in and do as you’ve been asked.” Burke’s death was announced by Doherty on 24 March.


    Marita Edwards, 80

    She was a very gentle loving woman and a friend to everybody,” Edwards’s son Stuart Loud said. She grew up in the village of Mangotsfield near Bristol. She worked as a cleaner in a factory in the city and brought up two children with her first husband. She found a new life with her second husband on the other side of the Bristol channel in the village of Bulwark in Monmouthshire. She was a regular at the Conservative Club in Chepstow, where she enjoyed dancing. “She had a very rich social life, much better than mine,” said Loud. Edwards was a former captain of the women’s golf team at St Pierre country club in Chepstow, and continued to play golf until she was admitted to hospital for a routine operation in February. She died three weeks later of hospital-acquired Covid-19 a day after testing positive for the virus. Loud said: “She was a lovely lady and it was just a horrendous way to go. I just want to make people aware of that.”


    Peter Myles, 77

    Myles’s struggles with Covid-19 were documented on social media by his daughter, the actor Sophia Myles. She said she had done it to show the “harsh reality of the coronavirus”. In 2018 she tweeted about her father’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease. Before he retired in 2008, Myles was an Anglican vicar at St John’s church in Isleworth, west London, where he was described as a “liberal soul”. After being ordained in 1971, his first job as curate was in Tideswell in Derbyshire. He spent the rest of his career in west London, including stints as a priest at St Peter’s church in Notting Hill and as chaplain to the bishop of Kensington. In his final years he lived in a care home close to St John’s. He died on 21 March.


    Wendy Jacobs

    Jacobs was the headteacher of Roose primary school in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. Her leadership of the school was repeatedly praised by inspectors. “This vibrant school provides a good quality of education with outstanding features,” they said in a recent report. The school’s chair of governors, Fred Chatfield, said her death was devastating for the school and the community. “This is a huge loss,” he said. Jacobs died on 22 March.


    William Stern, 85

    Born Vilmos György Stern in Budapest, Hungary, on 2 July 1935, Stern was imprisoned as a child in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during the second world war. He shared his memories of Torah readings in the camp on the Shoah website. After the war he settled in London and went on to build a successful property empire. Stern Holdings collapsed in 1973 and in 1978 Stern was declared bankrupt with debts of £118m, a record that stood for 14 years. He was a member of the ultra-Orthodox Haredi community in London.


    Rina Feldman, 97

    Like Stern, Feldman was a member of the ultra-orthodox Haredi community. No other details about her have been reported.


    Jean Bradford Nutter

    Bradford Nutter was the aunt of the former England rugby player Will Greenwood. In an Instagram post he said she “never did anything but bring sunshine into my life”. Greenwood said his aunt lived near his boarding school in Sedbergh, Cumbria. He said she was the eldest of three sisters and was in her 80s “but had so much living to do”. She died on 21 March.


    Hassan Milani

    Councillor Ali Milani, who was Labour’s parliamentary contender against Boris Johnson in Uxbridge and South Ruislip in the 2019 general election, revealed that his father, Hassan, had died after contracting the coronavirus on a trip to Iran. “In the early hours of this morning,” he said on Saturday, “my father tragically passed away after having contracted Covid-19. Please keep him in your prayers. This virus is taking millions all across the world.”


    Craig Ruston, 45

    Ruston, a rugby fan and father of two from Kettering, Northamptonshire, had been a footwear designer, including at Dr Martens, before being diagnosed with motor neurone disease. He had been writing about his struggle with the condition before he tested positive for Covid-19. But his posts became less frequent as he began losing the strength in his upper body. In one of his last, he wrote about a dream he had of standing beside his wife and daughters at his own funeral. He wrote: “I don’t fear death, but I can tear myself to pieces if I dwell too long on what happens when I’m gone.” His family said he was “not ready to go”. He died on 16 March.


    Leonard Gibson, 78

    Described by his family as a “typical jolly Irishman”, Gibson died on St Patrick’s Day, 17 March. He was born in County Tyrone and had 12 siblings. After moving to South Yorkshire aged 26, he worked at the coking plant at Orgreave. In retirement he enjoyed gardening, but problems with his lungs forced him to move into a sheltered housing flat in Oughtibridge, near Sheffield. He died in Sheffield Northern general hospital after being diagnosed with Covid-19. His daughters, Lisa, an NHS worker, and Michelle, a teaching assistant, were not allowed to visit him in hospital. Lisa said: “It is sad that we weren’t able to be with Daddy, but the nurses were there for us.”


    Nick Matthews, 59

    Described as a “true legend” of the Avon and Somerset police, Matthews retired as an officer in 2010 after a heart attack. He and his wife, Mary, from Nailsea in Somerset, had a week’s holiday on the Canary island of Fuerteventura at the end of February. Matthews was taken to Bristol Royal Infirmary after complaining of breathing difficulties on 12 March. He died on 14 March after testing positive for Covid-19.


    Darrell Blakeley, 88

    Blakeley was a churchgoer from Middleton in Rochdale and sang in the choir. He had a beautiful voice, according to a spokeswoman for St Michael’s church. He was also regarded as a “gracious gentleman”, she said. He had underlying health conditions and fell ill after coming into contact with someone who had travelled to Italy. Blakeley was admitted to North Manchester general hospital on 3 March with sepsis. He tested positive for Covid-19 on 10 March and died three days later.


    Kimberley Finlayson, 53

    Finlayson was the first British victim of coronavirus to be named after she died on holiday on the island of Bali in Indonesia on 11 March. She was the founder of a dental communication business based in Shenley, Hertfordshire, one of the counties worst hit at the start of the outbreak in the UK. She had four children. Her colleagues paid tribute to her “passion, creativity and determination”. Finlayson had lung disease and diabetes.


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  • Eltham Palace

    Starting life as a moated manor house, Eltham Palace became a royal residence when it was gifted to Edward II in 1305, and remained a favourite home of kings until the time of Henry VIII, when the rebuilt (and more easily accessible from the Thames) Greenwich Palace became the preferred venue. The grounds were still used for hunting until the English Civil War, when the estate was stripped of trees and deer, and the palace was left badly damaged, gradually falling into a ruinous state over the next few centuries.


    In 1933, socialites Sir Stephen and Lady Virginia Courtauld acquired a 99-year lease on the palace site, commissioning architects Seely & Paget to restore the Great Hall (the only significant remaining part of the original building) and create a modern home alongside it. Whilst the exterior was to be relatively inoffensive hybrid of contemporary and Renaissance styles (often called “Wrenaissance,”) the interior was pure Art Deco insanity.


    The triangular (not circular, as many guides insist) entrance hall comes complete with a glazed dome; to the side, the doors that lead into the dining room are one of several sets in striking black and silver, each decorated with pictures of animals from London Zoo. Virginia Courtauld’s bedroom takes inspiration from classical temples, her adjoining bathroom featuring gold mosaic and a statue of Psyche. Stephen’s bedroom is more reserved, its sound-proofed walls decorated in a mural of Kew Gardens. Throughout the house, the latest technology was incorporated – concealed ceiling lights, synchronised clocks, and a central vacuum cleaning system. Even the restored Great Hall gained underfloor heating and electric lighting.


    The Courtauld’s time at Eltham didn’t last for long though: in 1944, the family moved to Scotland, and gave the palace to the Royal Army Educational Corps, who remained there until 1992. English Heritage soon assumed management of the palace, restoring the home to its 1930’s opulence. Subsequent restorations have opened up the basement level, which was used as an air raid shelter in the Second World War, and the map room, where original maps plaster the walls and the Courtaulds’ secretary would have planned their travels.


    There are also acres of gardens to explore, if one has time, and is not suffering from the fatigue that may be brought about by the multimedia guide that is offered. This wittering companion puts visitors in the role of “guests”, offering often rambling accounts of the purpose of each room, and making far too many references to the Courtaulds’ pet lemur…

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    Hay-on-Wye, Wales, October 2017

    Being a huge book nerd, finding out about and visiting this little piece of heaven was an absolute dream.

    #flowerspeak#photo#photos#photography#mine#wales #hay on wye #uk#united kingdom#britain#welsh #okay i honestly miss this every day #we spent a day here and that day was not enough lemme tell you
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  • France stated that they want to test COVID-19 vaccines on Africans and likened them to prostitutes in the sense of them being “the most exposed” and nobody is fucking talking about how incorrect that is. THE US, SPAIN, ITALY, GREMANY, AND FRANCE ALL HAVE MORE CASES AND DEATHS THAN AFRICA. THEY ARE BY NO MEANS THE MOST EXPOSED TO THE VIRUS AND BLACK BODIES SHOULD NOT BE MADE AS GUINEA PIGS!!!! And for everyone that’s gonna day : SHOW ME THE NUMBERS!!!

    TOP 10 COVID-19 areas

    • US cases: 311,886 / deaths: 8,492
    • SPAIN cases: 130,759 / deaths: 12,418
    • ITALY cases: 124,632 / deaths: 15,362
    • GERMANY cases: 97,351 / deaths: 1479
    • CHINA cases: 81,669 / deaths: 3,329
    • FRANCE cases: 68, 605 / deaths: 7,560
    • IRAN cases: 58,226 / deaths: 3,603
    • UK cases: 47,806 / deaths: 4,932
    • TURKEY cases: 23,934 / deaths: 501
    • SWITZERLAND cases: 20,702 / deaths: 685

    Even the #s do not back up those scientists racist remarks. Stop the dehumanization of black bodies through false and incorrect “science”/theories.

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    If I have the courage…💃

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  • When the Queen addresses the nation, please remember that she is wearing a £4m crown, sitting on a £25m throne in a £935m palace and has a jewel collection of £1bn+ alongside billions of other wealth.

    No kind words or encouraging speech is going to help us, fund the NHS, feed people, or save lives.

    #uk#ukpolitics#the queen #queen elizabeth ii #royal family#british politics #british royal family #uk government#uk politics#uk royals #uk royal family #ukcoronavirus#british socialism#socialist#anti royal#anti tories#tories dni #weird americans who love our royals for some reason dni
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  • Mike Westbrook - Love and Understanding: Citadel/Room 315 Sweden ‘74 - live performance featuring John Surman, previously unreleased (My Only Desire Records)

    The debut performance of esteemed pianist/composer Mike Westbrook’s cult 70s jazz masterpiece 'Citadel/Room 315’, recorded live in 1974. Featured soloists throughout the album are the iconic ECM recording artist John Surman plus a crack team of top Scandi jazzers.

    Remastered by Caspar @ Gearbox Records from the original master tapes, 'Love and Understanding’ is available on limited edition 2LP gatefold vinyl (500 units worldwide) and 'mini-LP’ gatefold CD, with sleeve notes by Daniel Spicer (Jazzwise, The Wire).

    The original RCA recording of 'Citadel/Room 315’ is an hour-long suite of eleven tracks, beautifully composed and arranged by Mike Westbrook that is rightly considered to be one of the high-points of Brit-jazz from that era. Mike was commissioned by Sveriges (Swedish) Radio to write the work with Surman as lead soloist. He then travelled to Sweden to perform and conduct it for the first time, live in concert. This recording has never been released until now and presents a wildly different recording to the later LP, the rawness and freedom of the playing contrasting strongly with the more polished studio album.

    Surman - playing baritone and soprano saxophone, plus bass clarinet - is in sumptuously freewheeling form throughout, soaring between wild expression and wonderfully controlled playing, perfectly complimenting Mike’s compositions that gracefully move from jazz-rock, ballads, to tightly composed orchestral themes and more avant-garde moments.

    Backed by the 16-piece Swedish Radio Jazz Group led by saxophonist Arne Domnérus and Argentinian trumpeter Americo Bellotto, the group comprised the finest players on the Swedish scene.

    Mike Westbrook (conductor, electric piano)
    John Surman (baritone and soprano saxes, bass clarinet)

    The Swedish Radio Jazz Group:
    Arne Domnérus (alto saxophone, clarinet)
    Claes Rosendahl (tenor saxophone, flute)
    Lennart Åberg (tenor and soprano saxophone, flute)
    Erik Nilsson (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, flute)
    Americo Bellotto (trumpet)
    Bertil Lövgren (trumpet, flugel horn)
    Jan Allan (trumpet, alto horn)
    Håkan Nyquist (trumpet, flugel horn, French horn)
    Lars Olofsson (trombone)
    Sven Larsson (bass trombone, tuba)
    Rune Gustafsson (guitar)
    Bengt Hallberg (piano)
    Georg Riedel (bass)
    Stefan Brolund (bass guitar)
    Egil Johansen (drums)
    Jan Bandel (drums, vibraphone, percussion)

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  • So I really like plants but don’t have a garden as I live in a flat. Recently my local MnS did a thing where they gave you a little plant starter thing in a cute little box with seeds and a pellet of dehydrated soil when you spend £20 or more. And then when that promotion finished, they gave me a bunch more.

    So… now I have a tiny garden 💖

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  • Photography by Haydon Lee from the “Walking on Moonlight” music video shoot , Hamilton, Ontario , 2020

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  • New VW e-UP! review - the anti-Tesla EV? // Jonny Smith CarPervert


    Why do I think this could be the anti-Tesla EV? Simply because the 160 mile new VW e-Up! is a very simple package - an EV for non tech freaks perhaps? It is an electric car that doesn’t so much celebrate technology, but feels pleasantly analogue for a new car with new lithium-ion drivetrains that lives beneath. 

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  • Water lilies Yateley pond

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    So I woke up to a very concentrated pile of snow in my garden and I still have no idea where it’s from

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