Doncaster man's heartache as dad and uncle die of coronavirus and another uncle fights for life

A Doncaster man’s family has been ‘ripped apart by coronavirus,’ following the death of his dad and uncle as another uncle fights for life.

By Claire Lewis
Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 4:04 pm

James McGowan, from Sprotbrough, lost his dad on Tuesday and had already lost his uncle, Leslie Coley, to the same virus two weeks earlier.

Another uncle – his mum Helen’s twin brother Derek Coley – is fighting for life in intensive care after he too contracted deadly Covid-10.

Mr McGowan’s father, who was also called James, died in hospital in his home city of Birmingham two days before his 75th birthday.

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The late James McGowan (middle) with his sons James (left) and Arron (right)

Because of social distancing measures in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus, which has claimed 14,576 lives in the UK so far, Mr McGowan senior’s loved ones could not be at his side.

His heartbroken son said: “I feel a numbness at the moment at how this virus has ripped our family apart.

“Because of social distancing we can’t console each other. I have two sisters and a brother and our mum and we can’t see or hug each other as we have to follow the guidelines and we need everyone else to as well.

“My dad died alone, with a nurse at his side, and the pain of that is impossible to describe.

James McGowan died after contracting coronavirus

"It is beyond imaginable what has happened.”

He urged people to follow lockdown rules aimed at reducing the spread of the virus.

“People need to be patient because if they are not then coronavirus is going to affect them or their loved ones,” Mr McGowan said.

“If people do not stay at home then this will go on forever.

“There are people in abusive relationships and children in situations where they need to leave home and I do understand that but for those who do not need to leave, please don’t.

“When the daily death figures are released I just think to myself ‘they have all died alone’ and unless people stay at home the figure is only going to continue to rise.”

Lockdown laws state that people can only leave home for shopping, exercise once a day, essential travel to work and for medical supplies or appointments.