Seven siblings forced to choose which five will be allowed to attend Sheffield dad’s funeral

Seven Sheffield siblings brought up by an ‘amazing’ single dad must now make a heartbreaking decision over which five of them will attend his funeral due to coronavirus restrictions.

By Sophie Wills
Sunday, 26th April 2020, 11:16 am
Updated Monday, 27th April 2020, 1:43 pm

Gerald Hackford, of Wybourn, was found dead in bed on April 16 after cheerfully speaking to loved ones on the phone the night before.

Despite the fact the 72-year-old died due to blockage to his heart, and not from coronavirus, his heartbroken seven children claim they have still been informed by Sheffield City Council that only five of them may pay their respects at his funeral.

Speaking to the Star, daughter Geraldine West , of Norfolk Park, said: “How are we supposed to make this decision? Who will go, who won’t? He was a single dad who, amazingly, brought all seven children up himself. We should all be there. We owe that to him, at least.

Gerald Hackford, 72, passed away at home on April 16. Photo courtesy of family.

“We’re aware of the seriousness of the pandemic and are willing to take extra steps by masking up and wearing gloves. We’ll stand away from each other if we can all be there for dad like he was there for us.”

Following the outbreak of the virus, the Government issued new rules surrounding funerals and the people who can attend- a move that is meant to help stop the spread of the disease.

It is understood that the maximum number of mourners differs according to region.

Paying tribute to her dad, a former steelworker who made zimmerframes for the city’s hospitals, Geraldine added: “He was the most outgoing man you could ever meet.

“He’d argue with anyone, but then it would go over his head and he’d be your best mate the next day. He wasn’t one to hold a grudge and was always there for his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Every one of them.

“That night he spoke to some of us on the phone. He went to bed happy, but he never woke up. We are all devastated.”

Gerald leaves behind children Geraldine, Michelle, Steven, Paul, Donna, Marika and Melissa.

He also leaves behind 33 grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren: “We were a big family, and dad was loved by all.”

The Star has approached Sheffield City Council for comment.