A great-grandmother who had lived through the two world wars and survived the Spanish flu has become the UK's oldest coronavirus victim – 24 hours after testing positive for the disease.
Hilda Churchill, 108, began showing mild symptoms of the deadly virus on Tuesday, tragically passing away at her care home in Salford, Greater Manchester.
Her beloved family had hoped she would pull through to April 5, and celebrate her 109th birthday with loved ones.
She is believed to be in the oldest British victim of coronavirus, which has so far killed 1,019 people in the UK.
Grandson Anthony Churchill said Hilda “didn’t have any severe symptoms” and beloved she would pull through as she’s “battled through things like this before.”
Hilda had fought the Spanish flu as a child and survived, but sadly it took the life of her 12-year-old sister.
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Hilda’s distraught Grandson said: "The most devastating thing is that we were not able to be there with her in her time of need, when she's been with us through all of ours.
"It's heartbreaking for us. Her birthday was just weeks away and we were all so excited.
"She used to say she can't live forever but at times it was starting to feel like she would.
"Not being able to be with her in the last week of her life has just emotionally wrecked me.
"I think we all need to be more careful. She was a fighter, and she was fine, just mild symptoms.
"She was isolated for about a week at a care home where she was safe, but within a day she was gone.
"She was indestructible. If not for Covid she would be alive today – I'm sure of it."
Anthony said he remembers “all the dinners” she would make for the family, and has fond memories of Christmas.
He added: “"I remember how the house would smell like a bakery when she would make mince pies.
"She was the queen in our family and we've all been left a bit empty.
"But I want people to know Hilda. She never sat down, even as she surpassed 100 she was still fiercely independent.
"She would drop anything in a beat to help others while never asking for help herself."
Hilda had been in good health up until recently and had never smoked or drunk much alcohol in her life.
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She had moved into a care home ten months ago and the family last saw her a week ago – just before the UK went into lockdown.
He said: “She's the only person I know who had coronavirus, and I think it's until you know someone that you really realise this is real.
"It breaks my heart to think of all the plans we had for when this was all over.
“But we're lucky, at least we have enjoyed everything she had to give to the world for so many years.
"I can't even begin to imagine what it's like for families who lost someone young in all of this.
"We need to all take care of each other and stay safe – because you never know when someone you love is taken away from you in a blink of an eye."
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