Remembering those we lost in South Cumbria to Covid-19 in 2021

AS another year comes to an end, we are remembering those who lost their lives to Covid-19 in 2021.

The Mail is paying tribute to those who died from coronavirus throughout the past 12 months.

In January, Barrow driving instructor and dad-of-one Rodger Stretch tragically died from the virus.

A driving instructor who worked across Furness, Mr Stretch’s family saw his workmates turn out to pay their respects to their popular colleague.

The 44-year-old, who worked with Topgear Driver Training, sadly died from Covid pneumonia on January 21 after battling the illness for two weeks in hospital.

One week after his death, driving instructors drove along Solway Drive, Walney, to commemorate their co-worker and friend.

Mr Stretch’s father-in-law David Rowland said: “He was very popular and well-known in the area through his work with the driving school.

“He managed to get 10 passes in December alone which was his big claim to fame.”

Mr Stretch not only had a career teaching people to drive but that was also his passion as he loved ‘anything to do with an engine or wheels’.

Also in the month of January, well-known Kendal community member and former member of the Windermere, Ambleside and District Angling Association Andrew Coathup died.

Better known as Andy, Mr Coathup was a popular man in his community, who was known for his sense of humour.

The dad-of-two died suddenly at the age of 54 from coronavirus and other underlying health problems.

Mr Coathup was a familiar face at Morrisons in Kendal, where he spent more than two decades working as manager of the fish counter.

Son Jamie and daughter Abbie described their father as a man with a smile on his face who was always willing to lend a helping hand.

“It’s been a total shock, trying to come to terms with it really; just a bit heart-breaking,” said Jamie.

“Every step of the way I just feel like I want to phone up my dad and talk to him, tell him what’s happening, but then you realise.

“He was always there for us.

“He did everything for us, any advice, any help, fix your car, tell you how to do your DIY and stuff, anything he could help you out with.”

In January, the former director of Barrow Raiders, Keith Nutter, also died due to Covid-19.

The dad-of-two has been remembered as a ‘top bloke’ amid an outpouring of grief in the community.

His loss was described as ‘heart-breaking’ by his wife of 44 years Patricia.

Keith died in hospital aged 65 following three weeks of battling against the virus.

The grandad of three was described as a ‘family man’ by his wife.

She said: “He absolutely loved his rugby, but his family were his world.

“He was a really caring man who absolutely adored us.”

Barrow Raiders chairman Steve Neale was among those from the town’s sporting community to pay tribute.

He said: “Keith was so instrumental with his work for the Furness Raiders who have gone from strength to strength.

“He was always on hand when we choose players for the hall of fame. He will be a massive loss at the club.”

Tributes also flooded in for former train conductor and school governor, Richard McTigue, who died aged 50 in March after fighting coronavirus in Furness General Hospital which later developed into sepsis.

Born and raised on Walney Island, Mr McTigue leaves behind his wife Cath, 55, and son Daniel, 15.

“He was such a beautiful person,” Mrs McTigue said.

“Kind, loyal and dedicated. He was the most wonderful husband and father to Daniel.

“I am just going to miss him so much.”

He was a governor of St Columba’s Catholic Primary School, a place he attended as a boy, who paid tribute to him and said he was a ‘loyal and dedicated friend’ and that their thoughts were with the family.

The sentiment was echoed by St Pius X Catholic Primary School.

The Biggar Bank resident was well-known among his peers at the train station, where he mainly worked on the Barrow to Manchester Airport line.

He was a conductor for more than a decade after leaving his job as a mortgage advisor at Halifax bank.

Voluntary warden Douglas Worrall sadly died of Covid-19 in February at the age of 87.

Born on 5 March 1933, Douglas grew up in Nottingham and moved to the Lakes in the 1960s.

He soon became involved with the National Park, operating a seasonal tourist information caravan at Waterhead and was a voluntary warden.

Douglas met his wife Judy in 1969 and they had two children, Rupert and Tessa.

His family moved to Elterwater and lived next to the common for 38 years.

Douglas and Judy later moved to Kent’s Bank where they enjoyed Morecambe Bay views and the coast’s wildlife.

Tributes have been paid to Marion Baines who died aged 79 on January 16.

Mrs Baines, who lived in Marsden Street, Barrow, was a much-loved mum, nanna, wife and friend to many.

Her family said: “She was down to earth and would go out of her way for anyone.

“Marion could make anyone laugh with her great sense of humour even at the worst of times one thing she taught us all was to never stop laughing. She is dearly missed by many and lives on in our hearts.”

The family of Robert Niblock have also paid tribute to his life. The dad-of-two died of Covid pneumonia on November 30 last year, four days after his birthday.

The 79-year-old lived in Hawcoat Lane in Barrow and worked in Barrow Town Hall all as a licensing officer before he retired.

The grandad-of-four was born in Bangor, Northern Ireland but came to Barrow in 1976 and stayed ever since.

His family said: “We miss him so much everyday and will always love and remember him.”

Heartfelt tributes have been paid to Susan Wilson who sadly died of Covid pneumonia in October.

The 68-year-old was originally from Sunderland but moved to Cumbria with her husband shortly after they were married in the 1970s.

The pair settled in Swarthmoor when Mrs Wilson’s husband got a job as a headteacher in Barrow in 1986.

Her daughter, Ruth Wilson, said: “She was so adored and loved. My brother Tim and I and our family are shattered by her loss.

“She’s always loved Cumbria and the Lakes. Her final years were at Rusland Crescent in Ulverston and I think she’d found her happy place there.”

The family of Janet Mcluskie (known as Jinty) have paid to tribute to her life after she died on January 14 to Covid-19 age 61.

Ms Mcluskie was a mum-of-six and grandma-of-16.

Weeks later, the family also lost Janet’s brother Samuel (known as Sammy) Phillips who died aged 53 on February 4.

The siblings were both from Johnstone in Scotland but moved to Barrow in 1997.

The family said: “They we’re both big characters, even though Jinty was about five feet tall.

“All their neighbours knew them and they’ve both left a big hole in our hearts.”

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