Daughter of Covid death Leeds man is leading calls for bereavement support for families

The daughter of a 60-year-old Leeds man who died after testing positive for coronavirus is keeping his  memory alive as she channels her grief into helping run national campaign group Covid-19 Bereaved  Families for Justice.
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Kathryn de Prudhoe's dad Tony Clay - who was fit and healthy with no underlying health conditions - had flu-like symptoms for around two weeks before becoming confused and suffering a fall at his home in Bardsey on April 11 2020.

The retired civil engineer was taken to Leeds General Infirmary by ambulance and admitted to a Covid-19 intensive care ward after testing positive for coronavirus.

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Grandfather-of-two Mr Clay - who had suffered a suspected heart attack and had a bleed on the brain - died three days later.

Kathryn de Prudhoe

Photo: Gary LongbottomKathryn de Prudhoe

Photo: Gary Longbottom
Kathryn de Prudhoe Photo: Gary Longbottom

Mrs de Prudhoe, of Oakwood, helped launch the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group in May 2020 and is now a spokesperson for the group.

The group, which has more than 2,000 members, is calling for an independent and judge-led statutory public inquiry into the Government's response to the pandemic.

Mrs de Prudhoe is leading the group's calls for investment to be made in bereavement support for people who have lost loved ones in the pandemic.

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Mrs de Prudhoe said: "My dad was young and he had no underlying health conditions.

Kathryn de Prudhoe pictured with her dad Tony  Clay, mum  Joyce and children  Ruby, nine, and Jacob, six.Kathryn de Prudhoe pictured with her dad Tony  Clay, mum  Joyce and children  Ruby, nine, and Jacob, six.
Kathryn de Prudhoe pictured with her dad Tony Clay, mum Joyce and children Ruby, nine, and Jacob, six.

"Our lives have been totally turned upside down. My dad was like the foundation of our family and that's gone.

"It is an enormous loss. There is a big gap, a hole in our lives without him."

Mrs de Prudhoe added: "The group has certainly given me a sense of purpose. It has given me something to channel my grief into.

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"It was about raising awareness and saying it is not only older people who have died.

Tony Clay pictured with his grandson Jacob.Tony Clay pictured with his grandson Jacob.
Tony Clay pictured with his grandson Jacob.

"Younger, healthy people are dying too. So it was about sharing my story to stop the same thing happening to others."

After her father's death, Mrs de Prudhoe said she was not even able to give her mother Joyce - who was self isolating - a comforting hug.

Mrs de Prudhoe, who has two children - Ruby, nine, and Jacob, six - said: "The first five months or so were very hard.

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"When the children went back to school they were struggling, we were struggling."

"Relatives haven't been able to be with their loved ones when they were dying and many of them died alone.

"There were restrictions on funerals and then, because of the lockdowns and social distancing measures, we haven't been able to connect with friends and family so we have been grieving in isolation.

"It is a very unique and complex form of grief and people need support to deal with it. That's why I'm campaigning for Government funding for bereavement support services.

"There are lots of painful memories all the time. Everything in the world is about Covid at the moment .

"We can't forget it, we can't escape from it."