Former Chesterfield woman begs people to stay home after losing husband to coronavirus

A former Chesterfield woman has issued a plea to people to be patient and follow the rules after losing her key worker husband to coronavirus.

By Sarah Hawes
Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 8:48 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th April 2020, 8:16 am

Claire and Dave White met at school in Chesterfield, before moving down to Kent in 2004.

Dve, 44, was taken to hospital by ambulance on the afternoon of March 30 with breathing difficulties, having spent the weekend in bed with sickness and diarrhoea but no other underlying health issues.

Sadly, he died at 5.30am the following morning with Claire being told in a telephone call shortly after.

The last photo of the family all together taken on March 14.

She then had to tell their eight-year-old daughter, Megan.

Neither Claire or Megan had been able to travel to the hospital to see Dave, who was placed in a coma in critical care.

Claire, of Dartford, said: “It’s been so awful – not being able to see family and friends, waiting for a death certificate, knowing we can’t have a proper funeral. Luckily, I’ve got fantastic neighbours who have been looking after us and friends who are keeping in touch with me.

“I’ve also been introduced to a children’s bereavement charity, called Holding On Letting Go in Rochester, who are supporting me with how to help Megan to understand what’s happening.

Dave White with Megan as a baby

“This weekend, I was so upset to see people just carrying on as usual – going to parks, running, enjoying themselves, in the middle of a global, fatal pandemic.

"My husband died – along with many others – working flat out to help others. Seeing people treating the weekend like a bank holiday really made me sad and angry because these are the people, the faces of the actual people who are making coronavirus go on for longer in the UK.

"More people will die because they are continuing to spread it.”

As a supermarket store manager, Dave was classed as a key worker and had been working long hours the week before, to ensure the store was fully-operational for customers desperate to food shop.

He may have picked it up from there, coming into contact with so many people before the social distancing advice began.

Claire, 42, said: “People really should be taking it seriously, unless they want to explain to their children why their parents aren’t here anymore.

"The NHS is doing such a fantastic job, along with people like my husband who was making sure people had what they needed for their survival at home – food.

“I’ve seen lots of moans on social media groups about the long queues at supermarkets, but it’s not a very big price to pay for safety, is it? I would hope people can just get on with it and accept the situation for what it is.”

Claire was just 15 when she met Dave, aged 16.

They moved to Kent in 2004 to be closer to their jobs; Dave in Enfield and Claire at Gatwick where she worked for Monarch as a flight attendant.

They married in 2006. In 2011, they had their daughter Megan at Darent Valley Hospital.

Claire now works at Ebbsfleet International at the coffee shop in M&S.

Despite the sadness, Megan wanted to thank the NHS staff who had tried to save her daddy – especially those in A&E, Laurel Ward and ITU.

She did a painting, which was shared on the hospital's Facebook page to make people aware of how important it is to stay home and save lives.

Claire said: "Megan wanted to get the craft box out and do some painting. Then she said, “mummy, look what I’ve done”. When I asked why, she said “because the NHS looked after daddy.

"So please, wherever you are, do the right thing and stay at home! If you want me to beg, I will get down on my knees and beg.

"Nothing prepares you for having to tell your eight-year-old daughter that daddy will not be coming home. I cannot make this any clearer."

A spokesman for the hospital said: "What an incredibly brave girl Megan is, still thinking of others at such a devastating time. We send out sincere condolences at this very sad time for the family."