A 108-year-old woman who survived two world wars and the Spanish flu has passed away at a care home after tests showed she had the Covid-19 virus.
Hilda Churchill – who was just a week away from turning 109 and originally from Crewe – was the oldest known coronavirus victim in the UK. She died at Kenyon Lodge care home, in Little Hulton, Salford, four days after first showing signs of the coronavirus, and less than 24 hours after testing positive, reports the Manchester Evening News.
Her grandson Anthony Churchill says she will be greatly missed by her large extended family.
He said: “She did so much for us. “We were always with her on weekends as kids. She did so much for all the grandkids.
“She was a proper grandma as well. She would always have a pinny on and she’d be baking. She just could not throw any food away. You’d never go hungry.
“She was very loving. She couldn’t do enough for people.”
Hilda was born in 1911 and lived most of her younger life in Crewe before moving to Salford with her husband.
“She always talks about the neighbours cadging a pinch of salt and other bits during the war.
Anthony said: “She’d still make the best homemade gravy I have ever tasted if you let her near a kitchen.
“And her scones and mince pies – people were queuing up the street to get them at Christmas.
“She was very independent. She hated anyone having to do anything for her.”
In the weeks before her death, Anthony had started to talk to his grandma about the virus.
She was able to offer a perspective on the pandemic that few others could.
He says: “My grandma likes to talk. As I was telling her about his coronavirus she started talking about the Spanish flu and she remembered how bad that was.
“The whole house came down with it except her mum, who looked after everyone else.
“Sadly her little sister, who was only 12 months old, died of it. Grandma said she remembers a small box being put in a carriage.
“Her dad collapsed in the street with it, but survived.
“She was saying how amazing it is that something you can’t see can be so devastating.”
Anthony, 49, says Hilda was in good health up until recently having never smoked or drunk much in her life and after staying active for decades.
She only moved into the care home ten months ago and, up until then, had lived alone in her home in Walkden.
The mother-of-four, grandmother of eleven and great grandmother of 14 had, in recent years, also welcomed great grandchildren into the family.
Anthony says: “My grandma never understood how she got so old and she’d say that. I think it was the hard work that kept her going. That and good genes.”
“She could have written a book of the changes she’s seen in her lifetime. It’s very eye opening.”
Anthony, from Middleton, says the care home closed their doors just over a week ago and he last saw his grandma three days before that.
“They did the test and we were told it was positive.
“She didn’t have much of a fever. She wasn’t eating much but was taking on fluids.
“It’s a shock.”
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