No 10 party anger: ‘She died alone because we weren’t allowed to be with her’

GRIEVING relatives attended limited funerals and missed seeing loved ones during their final days as they followed strict coronavirus safety precautions while Downing Street held parties.

News of the latest in a series of alleged social events in the garden of Number 10 prompted an outpouring of pain and rage from people in Swindon.

Emma Jenkins told the Adver about her grandmother Kathleen Gribble, who was her soulmate and best friend.

Kathleen, 92, caught Covid in a care home, saw her relatives over a few video calls, and died alone in hospital a few weeks later.

Her funeral with seven socially-distanced people was held on May 20, 2020 – the same day prime minister Boris Johnson attended a party which he claims to have thought was a work event.

Emma said: “I couldn’t hug my dad, I couldn’t say goodbye to my gran before she died, we followed the rules but it was a very tough time and our lives have changed completely.

“I last saw her in early March, when she was well.

“She was a massive part of my life, we used to see her every week without fail, she was my rock and I miss her.

“Now knowing what was happening in Downing Street at the time makes me really angry. A lot of people have suffered from losing their loved ones and I can see

The 40-year-old from Haydon Wick first found out about the PM’s rule-breaking and apology when she saw a post from our Facebook page pop up on her social media feed.

She added: “That date just jumped out at me, I remember it like it was yesterday, it’s still very fresh and raw, and finding this out brought it all back. When I read up on what happened, I couldn’t believe it.

“People have broken the rules and said sorry but they still have to pay the fines. What’s Boris’ punishment? They’re supposed to be role models and people we trust.

Emma is not the only one to have been mourning a much-missed family member during this time.

Craig Nicholson’s father had his cancer treatment disrupted by the pandemic’s arrival to the UK, so his health began to slowly go downhill.

Craig said: “I wasn’t able to be with him in his last days or when he passed away. I wasn’t even allowed to collect his personal property from the hospital.

“I then had to plan a funeral for six people to attend. My household were told we had to be counted as individuals and not as one. It goes on and on.”

In the last few weeks, emails and photos leaked to the media have revealed evidence of several parties held in the heart of government while strict restrictions were in place.

Senior civil servant Sue Gray is carrying out an inquiry into these allegations which will investigate whether Covid guidelines were broken.

Sam Michael added: “When the Tories were partying, my aunty passed away in hospital on her own. No family around her, no children, no friends.

“Her last few days were spent alone because nobody was allowed into the hospital due to the rules set by those who broke them.

“She was one of many. Don’t say people don’t care because they do.”

Rachel Maslin and Alexandra Mancari were not allowed to visit their grandmothers during their final days.

Hayley Leinster-Poole added: “Unbeknownst to me, I was saying what was a final goodbye to someone I love so much I can’t put into words.

“She died the next day alone because we weren’t allowed to be with her.

“I hope everyone in attendance at that party, be it five minutes or five hours, feels the level of pain I feel and the ache in my heart.”

Swindon Advertiser | News