Grandad becomes first in Sheffield to die of coronavirus

His family praised Northern General

A grandad has become the first to die from coronavirus in Sheffield, after passing away at Northern General Hospital on Tuesday.

Leonard Gibson, 78, a “jolly Irish man who made everyone smile”, suffered from lung condition before his tragic death.

His daughters, Lisa Broughton and Michelle Lenton, said they have “nothing but praise” for the “kindness” of the NHS and the “amazing” work that they are doing.

They said that they want his death to act as a warning to those who don’t take coronavirus seriously, with hundreds of revellers on spotted on West Street this week defying the government’s advice to socially distance in a bid to stem the Covid-19 crisis.

Broughton and Lenton said Northern General “went the extra mile for dad and our family… even though they were probably very busy, every member of staff made sure that dad knew each time we phoned and said we loved him.”

They added:“It’s a small thing, but so important to us at the time.”

Northern General Hospital, Sheffield

Leonard’s death comes amid chaos throughout the UK with classes at dozens of universities including Uni of Sheffield and Hallam cancelled, A-level and GCSE exams axed, and the death toll rising again on Friday to 177.

Cases in Britain stand at 3,355, with Sheffield’s tally rising to 40 – the most outside the South East – on Thursday.

The importance of “community spirit, kindness and vigilance” has been stressed by his family, who said that it is “more important than ever to make sure we get through this outbreak.”

They also called on people to follow official health guidance from the government and look after those who are alone or vulnerable.

The public has been advised to avoid any “non-essential” social contact and travel, with Boris Johnson saying that we can “turn the tide” within 12 weeks and “save many thousands of lives” if people stay away from pubs, cafes and restaurants.

The Prime Minister also said more effective treatment is being rolled out, and trials on a vaccine are expected to begin within a month.

Following the Leonard family’s tragic loss, the Chief Executive of Sheffield NHS Foundation Trust, Kirsten Major, also heaped praise on staff at Northern General.

She said: “It is an absolute privilege to work alongside such an amazing group of people working tirelessly to support our colleagues.

“This is an unprecedented situation and there is not one person in the trust who has not stepped up to the challenge. I would ask people to be kind to people trying their very best.”