UK announces 215 more Covid-19 deaths, taking the number of victims to 38,376

The UK today announced 215 more Covid-19 deaths, taking the official number of coronavirus victims to 38,376 – but it is the lowest Saturday total since lockdown began.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced the figure tonight at Downing Street’s daily press conference, where he also revealed nearly 2,500 more people had tested positive for the virus. More than 272,00 Britons have now been officially diagnosed with the viral disease.

It marks the lowest Saturday death total since March 21, three days before the country went into lockdown, when there were just 56 coronavirus deaths. 

But despite the continued downward trend, three of government coronavirus scientists claim the UK is lifting restrictions too soon and that 80 people could die every day until a vaccine comes along.

The reproduction ‘R’ rate – the average number of people an infected Covid-19 patient infects – is sitting between 0.7 and 0.9 and if it breaches 1 then the outbreak could spiral back out of control again. Ministers are trying to juggle both keeping the R below 1 – to extinguish the spread of infection – and fire up the economy and return to normal life.

The new lockdown rules will allow the public to travel to beauty spots to sunbathe with members of their household, or to meet one person from another household at a two-metre distance from Monday.

Today’s deaths include 146 in hospitals in England, 22 in total across Scotland 14 in Wales and just one in Northern Ireland. The remaining fatalities occurred in care homes in England and in the wider community.

In other twists and turns in the coronavirus crisis today: 

  • Sun-seekers have been told they’ll be fined for breaking lockdown rules as Britons flock to beaches with temperatures set to hit 82F 
  • Senior Tories have demanded Boris Johnson reduces social distancing or see apocalyptic job losses in hospitality sector
  • Scientists said picnickers must sit in the shape of a hexagon, pentagon or parallelogram two metres apart to stay safe in a social-distanced summer
  • Ex-education secretary Alan Johnson claimed teaching unions ‘got it wrong’ over reopening schools and must now back down and stop their ‘war dance’
  • Holidaymakers arriving in Mallorca and Ibiza could face coronavirus tests at the airport and then a six-hour wait in hotels for results 

Three experts on the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), which is steering ministers through the crisis, lined up this morning to caution that measures were being relaxed when the infection rate was still not low enough. 

Professor Peter Horby said Britain could not afford to lose control of the virus. He told BBC Radio 4 this morning: ‘We really can’t go back to a situation where we’ve got the numbers of cases and deaths we’ve had in the past.’  

Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and SAGE member, said in a Twitter post that he ‘agreed with John’ on the clear science advice, appearing to reference SAGE colleague Professor John Edmunds, who said on Friday the Government was ‘taking risks’ by relaxing measures from Monday.

Sir Jeremy also said the newly-introduced NHS test and trace system needed to be ‘fully working’ before measures were eased. He wrote: ‘Covid-19 spreading too fast to lift lockdown in England. Agree with John & clear science advice.

‘TTI (test, trace and isolate) has to be in place, fully working, capable dealing any surge immediately, locally responsive, rapid results & infection rates have to be lower. And trusted.’  

Professor Edmunds, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said the Prime Minister had ‘clearly made a political decision’ by unlocking the country on Monday, because the threat of a second peak remains high. 

He claimed that, even if the ‘untested’ contact tracing scheme goes smoothly, the country could still suffer 80 deaths a day until a vaccine is developed.  

Professor Edmunds said: ‘Many of us would prefer to see the incidence driven down to lower levels because that then means we have fewer cases occurring before we relax the measures. 

The lockdown rules are increasingly varied across the UK as the home nations butt heads on easing restrictions

The lockdown rules are increasingly varied across the UK as the home nations butt heads on easing restrictions

Professor John Edmunds, an adviser to SAGE, said he would have preferred to see infections driven down further before relaxing the lockdown

Professor John Edmunds, an adviser to SAGE, said he would have preferred to see infections driven down further before relaxing the lockdown

‘If we had incidence at a lower level then, even if R went up a little bit, we wouldn’t be in a position where we’re overwhelming the health service rapidly.

‘We could tolerate a little bit [of an increase in infections]. At the moment, with relatively high incidence,relaxing the measures and also with an untested track and trace system, I think we are taking some risk here. 

‘Even if that risk does pay off, and we manage to keep the incidence flat, we’re keeping it flat at quite a high level – 8,000 new infections a day.

‘If there’s a 1 per cent infection fatality rate that’s 80 deaths per day, if there’s half a per cent, that’s 40 per day.

‘That’s the amount of deaths we might expect to see going forward. That’s clearly a political decision, it’s not a scientific decision. 

‘It’s pretty clear to me the direction of travel is we’re starting to relax and we’re going to keep the reproduction level at one, but that means we’re keeping the incidence at this level.’ 

Under the easing in England, different households will be able to see family and friends in groups of six from Monday, although social distancing measures will still have to be followed.

They will also be permitted to use gardens and private outdoor spaces, which was previously banned. Mr Johnson said that meant barbecues are possible.

Schools will start to reopen from Monday, and non-essential shops will follow from June 15.

Professor Edmunds said that without a vaccine or viable treatment at the ready, the Government cannot ease restrictions much more than it already has.

He added: ‘The issue is clearly there’s a need to get the economy restarted and get people back to their jobs. 

‘And clearly there’s a social and mental health need to allow people to meet with friends and family and so on. 

‘A targeted approach is good, it’s not putting everybody in lockdown which of course allows the economy and for us to go back to some level of normality. 

‘But none of us think – that have looked at this in any great detail – that [the track and trace scheme] will be sufficient to be able to hold the reproduction number below one.

‘We will still have to have significant numbers of wider social distancing measures in place. 



Britain announces 183 more Covid-19 deaths, taking official number of victims to 38,344

Britain today announced 183 more Covid-19 deaths, taking the official number of coronavirus victims to 38,344 – but it is the lowest Saturday total since before lockdown.

Department of Health officials have yet to confirm the final tally, which will be significantly higher because it takes into account fatalities in all settings. The preliminary toll is counted by adding up the individual death counts of each of the home nations.

NHS England chiefs today recorded 146 more coronavirus deaths in hospitals, while Scotland posted 22, Wales 14 and Northern Ireland one across all settings, including care homes.

Today’s death jump is the lowest on a Saturday since March 21 (56), just three days before the country went into lockdown. For comparison, 282 deaths were announced last Saturday. 

Despite the continued downward trend, three of the Government’s coronavirus scientists claim the UK is lifting restrictions too soon and that 80 people could die every day until a vaccine comes along.

The reproduction ‘R’ rate – the average number of people an infected Covid-19 patient infects – is sitting between 0.7 and 0.9 and if it breaches 1 then the outbreak could spiral back out of control again. Ministers are trying to juggle both keeping the R below 1 – to extinguish the spread of infection – and fire up the economy and return to normal life.

The current lockdown allows the public to travel to beauty spots to sunbathe with members of their household, or to meet one person from another household at a two-metre distance. 

In other twists and turns in the coronavirus crisis today: 

  • Sun-seekers have been told they’ll be fined for breaking lockdown rules as Britons flock to beaches with temperatures set to hit 82F 
  • Senior Tories have demanded Boris Johnson reduces social distancing or see apocalyptic job losses in hospitality sector
  • Scientists said picnickers must sit in the shape of a hexagon, pentagon or parallelogram two metres apart to stay safe in a social-distanced summer
  • Ex-education secretary Alan Johnson claimed teaching unions ‘got it wrong’ over reopening schools and must now back down and stop their ‘war dance’
  • Holidaymakers arriving in Mallorca and Ibiza could face coronavirus tests at the airport and then a six-hour wait in hotels for results 

Professor Peter Horb, a member of the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), which is steering ministers through the crisis, said Britain could not afford to lose control of the virus.

He told BBC Radio 4 this morning: ‘We really can’t go back to a situation where we’ve got the numbers of cases and deaths we’ve had in the past.’  

Sir Jeremy, director of the Wellcome Trust and SAGE member said in a Twitter post that he ‘agreed with John’ on the clear science advice, appearing to reference SAGE colleague Professor John Edmunds, who said on Friday the Government was ‘taking risks’ by relaxing measures from Monday.

Sir Jeremy also said the newly-introduced NHS test and trace system needed to be ‘fully working’ before measures were eased. He wrote: ‘Covid-19 spreading too fast to lift lockdown in England. Agree with John & clear science advice.

‘TTI (test, trace and isolate) has to be in place, fully working, capable dealing any surge immediately, locally responsive, rapid results & infection rates have to be lower. And trusted.’  

Professor Edmunds, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said the Prime Minister had ‘clearly made a political decision’ by unlocking the country on Monday, because the threat of a second peak remains high. 

The lockdown rules are increasingly varied across the UK as the home nations butt heads on easing restrictions

The lockdown rules are increasingly varied across the UK as the home nations butt heads on easing restrictions

He said that, even if the ‘untested’ contact tracing scheme goes smoothly, the country could still suffer 80 deaths a day until a vaccine is developed.  

Professor Edmunds said: ‘Many of us would prefer to see the incidence driven down to lower levels because that then means we have fewer cases occurring before we relax the measures. 

‘If we had incidence at a lower level then, even if R went up a little bit, we wouldn’t be in a position where we’re overwhelming the health service rapidly.

‘We could tolerate a little bit [of an increase in infections]. At the moment, with relatively high incidence,relaxing the measures and also with an untested track and trace system, I think we are taking some risk here. 

‘Even if that risk does pay off, and we manage to keep the incidence flat, we’re keeping it flat at quite a high level – 8,000 new infections a day.

‘If there’s a 1 per cent infection fatality rate that’s 80 deaths per day, if there’s half a per cent, that’s 40 per day.

‘That’s the amount of deaths we might expect to see going forward. That’s clearly a political decision, it’s not a scientific decision. 

‘It’s pretty clear to me the direction of travel is we’re starting to relax and we’re going to keep the reproduction level at one, but that means we’re keeping the incidence at this level.’ 



Queen to open £3.2million monument to honour Britain’s fallen emergency services coronavirus heroes

A £3.2million monument to honour Britain’s fallen emergency service workers including those who died during the coronavirus pandemic will be opened.

More than 7,000 emergency service workers have died in the line of duty over the last 250 years, with more than 180 NHS staff known to have died from Covid-19.

The National Emergency Services Memorial was planned before the pandemic began but has now been redesigned to honour those who have died this year. 

It will now include a frontline hospital figure wearing a protective face visor and scrubs, in addition to the previous police, fire, maritime rescue, and search and rescue services figures.

A £3.2million monument to honour Britain’s fallen emergency service workers including those who have died during the coronavirus pandemic will be opened in London in 2023

The National Emergency Services Memorial has been designed by sculptor Philip Jackson, who also designed statues of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother on The Mall in London

The Queen will open the memorial, which will feature a frontline hospital figure wearing a protective face visor and scrubs as well as police, fire, maritime rescue, and search and rescue services figures

The Queen will open National Emergency Services Memorial designed by Philip Jackson (left), which will feature a frontline hospital figure wearing a protective face visor and scrubs as well as police, fire, maritime rescue, and search and rescue services figures

The five-sided bronze monument will be opened in 2023 by the Queen, featuring six eight foot figures and a spaniel to represent all service animals.

It will stand at 20 foot tall and be located in central London at a site yet to be determined.

What figures will feature on the National Emergency Services Memorial and what will they represent?

  • A male police officer 
  • A male firefighter
  • A female paramedic to represent the ambulance service and other healthcare agencies like St John Ambulance
  • A female doctor to represent the NHS
  • A male maritime worker to represent HM Coastguard and Lifeboat Services
  • A male search and rescue volunteer
  • A spaniel search and rescue dog to represent emergency services animals. 

Sculptor Philip Jackson, who designed the Bobby Moore statue outside Wembley Stadium, has been working on the project for more than a year. 

He said: ‘Because of what has happened with this dreadful pandemic, we decided that the NHS side of the monument should be reinforced with a secondary figure.

‘So the paramedic now has a companion in the nurse-doctor figure,’ he told Sky News

The Royal College of Nursing and British Medical Association have both welcomed the new plans.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said: ‘It takes a very special kind of person to put your life on the line for a complete stranger.

‘You are heroes of British life. If we dial 999, we know you will be there for us,’ he told The Daily Express.

Prince William, a former Air Ambulance pilot, said: ‘We owe our well-being, and indeed our lives, to our emergency services who work tirelessly to protect us.

‘It is only fitting we recognise the vital role they play.’

The project will cost an estimated £3.2million and is being funded through public donations.

Designer Philip Jackson also designed statues of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother on The Mall and the Bomber Command memorial in Green Park, all in London.

Prince William, a former Air Ambulance pilot, said: 'We owe our well-being, and indeed our lives, to our emergency services who work tirelessly to protect us. It is only fitting we recognise the vital role they play'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who recently had his life saved in hospital by NHS workers, said: 'It takes a very special kind of person to put your life on the line for a complete stranger. You are heroes of British life. If we dial 999, we know you will be there for us'

The new design, featuring hospital workers wearing Personal Protective Equipment to honour the 180 NHS staff who have died during the pandemic, has been welcomed by former Air Ambulance pilot Prince William (left) and Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right), who recently suffered from coronavirus in an NHS hospital

Designer Philip Jackson also designed the Bomber Command memorial in Green Park, London, which was vandalised with white paint in January 2019 (above)

Designer Philip Jackson also designed the Bomber Command memorial in Green Park, London, which was vandalised with white paint in January 2019 (above)

The National Emergency Services Memorial charity was founded by Tom Scholes-Fogg, 28, in Autumn 2016.

He was inspired to create the monument by his grandfather his grandfather John Scholes, a retired Greater Manchester Police Sergeant. 

The memorial has also received support from Arlene Foster, the First Minister of Northern Ireland, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, and Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales. 



Heartwarming moment boyfriend proposes to his NHS nurse girlfriend during the Clap for Carers

Heartwarming moment boyfriend proposes to his NHS nurse girlfriend during the Clap for Carers

  • Engineer Jamie Carlton, 27, shocked nurse Lauren McAulay, 26, by proposing
  • Proposed at their home in Corby,  Northamptonshire, during last Clap for Carers 
  • Miss McAulay’s mother Paula Franks, 50, filmed the heartwarming proposal  
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

An NHS nurse was left gobsmacked when her boyfriend proposed to her during the Clap for Carers on Thursday. 

Jamie Carlton, 27, proposed to Lauren McAulay, 26, while people in their street, in Corby, Northamptonshire, were out showing their support for key workers fighting coronavirus on the frontline. 

The engineer surprised everyone, including Miss McAulay’s mother Paula Franks, when he got down on one knee during the last national clap. 

Jamie Carlton, 27, shocked everyone when he proposed to Lauren McAulay, 26, while out in the street in Corby, Northamptonshire, for the Clap for Carers

The NHS mental health support worker was stunned into silence when her now fiance unexpectedly popped the question

The NHS mental health support worker was stunned into silence when her now fiance unexpectedly popped the question

In the heartwarming video, mental health support worker Miss McAulay stands outside the front of the couple’s house clapping with her two-month-old daughter Bonnie in her arms before Mr Carlton places the baby in her bouncer. 

He then around and says to her: ‘Lauren, do you want to spend the rest of your life with me?’

Pulling out an engagement ring from his back pocket and getting down on one knee he leaves Miss McAuley stunned.  

In the sweet video she stops clapping and starts to question whether he is joking before hugging him and agreeing to marry him.  

Mr Carlton got down on one knee and said to Miss McAulay: 'Lauren, will you spend the rest of your life with me?'

Mr Carlton got down on one knee and said to Miss McAulay: ‘Lauren, will you spend the rest of your life with me?’

The couple met 11 years ago and dated for a few months before splitting and got back together in 2018

The couple met 11 years ago and dated for a few months before splitting and got back together in 2018

Miss McAulay gave birth to their two-month-old daughter Bonnie in March just before the lockdown was imposed

Miss McAulay gave birth to their two-month-old daughter Bonnie in March just before the lockdown was imposed

Speaking about the proposal, Miss McAulay said: ‘I was very surprised. He clearly put a lot of thought into it. It made it even more special for me.’ 

Luckily Mrs Franks, a 50-year-old finance administrator, was able to capture the heartwarming moment as she happened to be filming the last national Clap for Carers.  

Mr Carlton had asked her to walk round from her house down the street to join them for the clap.  

Mrs Franks said: ‘He wanted it to be special and they have both joined in the clap every week.

‘It is the only time I would have been able to be there due to lockdown rules. 

‘He thought it would be a memory to last forever. I was surprised but very happy and glad to have been a part of it.’

Newly-engaged Miss McAulay is currently on maternity leave after giving birth to baby Bonnie just before the lockdown was implemented. 

The couple met 11 years ago through mutual friends and were together for a few months before splitting. 

They met each other again in 2018 and rekindled their romance before moving in together in January 2019.  



Why the yellow paper hearts springing up all over Britain have given grieving families some comfort

Pictures of rainbows have become a familiar sight in the windows of Britain’s homes in recent months in thanks to the NHS. But now, yellow paper hearts are also appearing in some windows – and the reasons are altogether more sobering.

Each heart represents one of the 37,460 victims lost to coronavirus. The movement, Yellow Hearts To Remember, was set up by a family who lost their beloved grandmother to the virus last month. Now, it has over 5,500 members, each sharing their own personal story of loss.

Here five families tell JILL FOSTER why this simple but poignant emblem has given them some comfort in their grief…

WE CREATED THIS GROUP – BUT NOW IT BELONGS TO EVERYONE

Sheila Gompertz, a computer scientist from Birmingham, died on April 12 aged 83. Her husband of 59 years, David, 84, a retired medical scientist says:

Sheila was a very bright, intelligent lady who wore it lightly. She had a Masters Degree in computing sciences as well as a Royal Horticultural Society certificate. People would come to our house not to say hello to me but to see Sheila’s garden. She knew all the Latin names of every plant and flower.

Sheila Gompertz, a computer scientist from Birmingham, died on April 12 aged 83. She is pictured with her husband of 59 years, David, 84, a retired medical scientist 

Yellow paper hearts are appearing in windows to represent the death of someone fro the home

Yellow paper hearts are appearing in windows to represent the death of someone fro the home

But about six years ago she developed dementia and we moved to Birmingham to be nearer to my son, a respiratory consultant who is currently working on a COVID ward. We had a carer for a while but Sheila needed round the clock care, so 13 months ago we found a wonderful care home not far from our home.

Until lockdown I was visiting her every other day. I don’t know if she still knew who I was. We would sit together and she would cuddle my arm, so she knew I ‘belonged’ to her in some way.

The first I knew that she was ill was when the care home called me to say the paramedics were with her. My son was the only one who was allowed to see her and she died three days later. I couldn’t speak to her on the telephone or see her. There was no point as she wouldn’t have understood what was going on.

The idea for the Yellow Hearts was a joint one between myself and my very talented grandchildren. I had remembered the yellow ribbons from the Vietnam War and suggested we do something similar for those people who have died from the virus. Like so many people, I listen to the Downing Street briefings every day where they reel off the numbers and parrot the phrase: ‘These are all individual stories’ but that’s no good. People need a place where they can express their loss and tell people about their loved ones. We also need to show on a local level how many people this is affecting personally.

Sheila was a very bright, intelligent lady who wore it lightly. She had a Masters Degree in computing sciences as well as a Royal Horticultural Society certificate, her widower says

Sheila was a very bright, intelligent lady who wore it lightly. She had a Masters Degree in computing sciences as well as a Royal Horticultural Society certificate, her widower says

Sheila's granddaughter Hannah Gompertz created the yellow heart group on Facebook

Sheila’s granddaughter Hannah Gompertz created the yellow heart group on Facebook

My granddaughter Hannah said that no one could buy yellow ribbon right now but we all have crayons and paper so perhaps we could draw hearts and put them in our windows instead. She and my granddaughter Becky had the idea to set up the Facebook group Yellow Hearts To Remember and it’s taken off. We’ve filled a hole everyone needed – a place where people can tell the stories of their nearest and dearest. Sadly there are thousands of people who have now posted their tributes.

That Facebook group doesn’t belong to us anymore but to the people who have contributed. I keep reading their stories of loss and I weep for them because they are devastating. But so many have come forward to thank us for setting it up. I do think it’s helping people know they’re not alone.

IT’S VITAL TO SHOW OTHER FAMILIES THEY’RE NOT ALONE

Hefin Williams, 80 and wife Valerie, 74, from Warrington died less than a fortnight apart. They leave four children, six grandchildren aged nine to 22. Here, daughter Nikki, 46, a neonatal nurse says:

COVID-19 is a thief. It has not only stolen our wonderful parents but it’s stolen time from us being together as a family to grieve. It’s horrific.

Mum and Dad still had years ahead of them. Dad had celebrated his 80th last year but they were so full of life and loved by everyone. Dad volunteered at the local hospital and mum had only just retired from her job as a carer. They enjoyed eating out, going to the theatre, dancing. Unbeknown to us, it may have been their downfall but we have no idea where they picked up the virus.

Hefin Williams, 80 and wife Valerie, 74, from Warrington died less than a fortnight apart. They leave four children, six grandchildren aged nine to 22

Hefin Williams, 80 and wife Valerie, 74, from Warrington died less than a fortnight apart. They leave four children, six grandchildren aged nine to 22

Hefin Williams, 80 and wife Valerie, 74, from Warrington died less than a fortnight apart. They leave four children, six grandchildren aged nine to 22

Nikki William's now has a rainbow to thank the NHS and yellow hearts for both of her parents

Nikki William’s now has a rainbow to thank the NHS and yellow hearts for both of her parents

Mum became ill first. She had no underlying health conditions but developed a dry cough and high temperature and was taken to hospital when her breathing became difficult. She was placed on a ventilator and it broke our hearts that Dad was left alone because they did absolutely everything together. But within a week, we had to call 999 for Dad too and the last time I saw him was in the ambulance. He died on March 30.

At his funeral on April 9, the funeral cortege drove past Warrington Hospital where he volunteered and hundreds of NHS staff applauded him. We recorded the whole thing, so mum would be able to see it when she woke up. But the following day, she passed away too. It’s devastated the whole family.

My sister and I came across the Yellow Heart page recently and it’s so important because people need to hear the stories of the thousands who have died. I’ve created a poster with two yellow hearts, a picture of my parents and the hashtag #loveforthelost and the family have them in their windows. Groups like this are vital for letting relatives know they are not alone. I believe mum and dad were the first couple to die of it but I’ve since heard of more and I’ve reached out to them to say: ‘You’re not alone. We understand what you’re going through’.

MUM IS NOT JUST A STATISTIC

Pamela Fruhmann, 60, a former secondary school teaching assistant died on April 10 at Bournemouth Hospital. Her daughter Jessica Hayder, 31, a primary school teacher says:

Mum was loved by everyone. She was strong and sociable. She’d been through so much in her life and after she’d passed away we were overwhelmed by messages from people who knew her.

She’d been battling acute myeloid leukaemia but hadn’t been in hospital since October. However at the end of March she was readmitted to the cancer ward with a sore throat and a high temperature. At first, she tested negative for COVID. But then she deteriorated and was tested positive.

Pamela Fruhmann, 60, a former secondary school teaching assistant died on April 10 at Bournemouth Hospital

Pamela Fruhmann, 60, a former secondary school teaching assistant died on April 10 at Bournemouth Hospital

Pamela had been battling acute myeloid leukaemia but hadn't been in hospital since October

Pamela had been battling acute myeloid leukaemia but hadn’t been in hospital since October

I live in Vienna and the borders were closed so I couldn’t get to her. I would Facetime and both my sister Olivia and I would sing to her, telling her we loved her and that everything was going to be alright. We didn’t want her to know we were struggling or how serious it was. Thankfully, she really didn’t have much idea of what was going on.

I’ve struggled with the thought that my mum was alone at the end. I thought back to awful scenes of people having to say goodbye to their loved ones from a distance and suddenly we were in the same situation. I even had to attend her funeral by Facetime, reading out a poem as the minister held the phone up to the mourners.

I spotted the Yellow Hearts group a couple of days ago and thought it was amazing. To see how many other people have been affected has made both my sister and I feel less alone and I feel more connected to the UK. Just reading through the stories, people have lost parents, siblings, friends and they’re all ages. We’re all uniting in this horrible situation.

Pamela is pictured with her daughter Olivia (right) and Jessica (left) at a wedding

Pamela is pictured with her daughter Olivia (right) and Jessica (left) at a wedding

Pamela Fruhmann died last month aged 60. She is pictured in hospital

Pamela Fruhmann died last month aged 60. She is pictured in hospital

Olivia said: 'I spotted the Yellow Hearts group a couple of days ago and thought it was amazing. To see how many other people have been affected has made both my sister and I feel less alone and I feel more connected to the UK'. Pictured is the yellow heart in her window

Olivia said: ‘I spotted the Yellow Hearts group a couple of days ago and thought it was amazing. To see how many other people have been affected has made both my sister and I feel less alone and I feel more connected to the UK’. Pictured is the yellow heart in her window

Olivia shared this sweet message on Facebook to thank the founders of the page

Olivia shared this sweet message on Facebook to thank the founders of the page

Everyone is extremely supportive, which is so vital at a time where friends and family can’t even be together.

On the day mum died, there had been 9,875 deaths and I remember thinking: ‘My mum is one of them’. But this group helps because she’s not just a statistic. We can all put faces to the numbers.

The hearts make people realise that it’s not just the old and sick who are dying and there is a reason for the lockdown and to be socially distanced. It’s raising awareness as well as giving support.

My sister has a post-it note heart in her window. We’ve also raised £4,700 for the leukaemia ward where mum was treated. She would have loved that.

DAD WAS DEAD WITHIN FOUR HOURS OF GOING TO HOSPITAL

John Ashwell, a retired pawnbroker from Hertfordshire, died on March 27 aged 70. He leaves his partner of 30 years, Jenny, 73, as well as three stepchildren and six grandchildren. His stepdaughter Sue Williams, 50, a company director, says:

John Ashwell, a retired pawnbroker from Hertfordshire, died on March 27 aged 70. He leaves his partner of 30 years, Jenny, 73, as well as three stepchildren and six grandchildren

John Ashwell, a retired pawnbroker from Hertfordshire, died on March 27 aged 70. He leaves his partner of 30 years, Jenny, 73, as well as three stepchildren and six grandchildren 

It’s the shock of losing John so suddenly which has hit the family so hard. You hear stories about people with COVID being on ventilators for weeks with this virus but John was taking into hospital at 11am and was dead by 3pm. I could hear the sirens of the ambulance rushing him to hospital. Next thing we get a call to say he’d gone.

John was one of those people who couldn’t sit still. He’d survived a stroke and cancer but was always on the go – he loved travelling, fishing and walking. He’d planned to go to Greece this year.

There was no indication that he was ill. He had no cough. The night before he died, he watched television, had some cake and went to bed. He was fine. But next morning he could barely breathe and was unresponsive. Mum rang for an ambulance and he was sedated.

The nurse who sat with him when he died told us that he wasn’t frightened, that wouldn’t have been aware of what was going on – which will be some comfort in the future. But we can’t get our heads around any of it.

It was my 23-year-old daughter Hannah who spotted the Yellow Hearts group. She’s a key worker and is devastated by what’s happened. Not being able to hug her or my mum or sister at John’s funeral was horrible.

Putting up the yellow hearts is a good way show how many people are being affected by this awful virus. You see people walking around in groups, thinking it won’t happen to them – but it does. The 37,000 people who have died are not just numbers – this shows how it is affecting people on a personal level. It would be nice to have some kind of permanent memorial with all their names on it one day.

BEHIND EVERY HEART IS A FACE AND NAME

Keith Sanford, a former football steward from Grimsby died on April 2 aged 57. He leaves his wife of 38 years, Eileen and three children and six grandchildren. His daughter Marie, 36, a nurse says:

Dad was the loveliest, friendliest person who would do anything to anyone. He was a joker too – the first time my in-laws met him one Christmas, he was dressed up as Santa after visiting his grandchildren. He had a fake parking ticket that he used to put on my husband’s car and he’d fool him every time!

Keith Sanford, a former football steward from Grimsby died on April 2 aged 57. Pictured, with daughter Marie

Keith Sanford, a former football steward from Grimsby died on April 2 aged 57. Pictured, with daughter Marie

Keith is pictured with his wife Eileen and daughter Marie on her wedding day. She said he was the 'loveliest, funniest man'

Keith is pictured with his wife Eileen and daughter Marie on her wedding day. She said he was the ‘loveliest, funniest man’ 

Keith, who had received an organ transplant, was in the high risk category. He is pictured with his grandchild

Keith, who had received an organ transplant, was in the high risk category. He is pictured with his grandchild

The window of Ketih's children's home is now marked with a yellow heart

The window of Ketih’s children’s home is now marked with a yellow heart 

He was in the ‘high risk’ category as he was a kidney donor recipient but he’d done his best to shield himself. We have no idea how he caught the virus as he was so careful. He was admitted to the Diana Princess of Wales hospital at the end of March after he tested positive and we couldn’t to visit him at all. Despite that, we were in regular contact with him via video. But as he deteriorated, he was unable to take calls anymore. The staff on the ward would try to help him but his breathing was so poor, he couldn’t really say anything.

On April 2, the hospital rang to say he didn’t have long left and I could come to see him. I raced there but can only have been in the room for 30 seconds before he passed away. I do hope he knows I was with him. Outside, I heard nurses crying. As a nurse myself, I know how much pressure there were under. To lose one patient on a ward is hard but Dad was the fourth in a very short time. It must have been awful for them.

I can no longer listen to the daily briefing because Dad is a part of those increasing numbers, so when I saw the Yellow Hearts group, I joined it because behind every heart is a lovely face and a name and a story. That’s so important for the families, to be able to share the stories of their loved ones and for us to realise we’re not alone in our grief.