A British man had just 15 minutes to say his final goodbyes to his coronavirus-stricken father, according to a report.
Darrell Blakeley, 88, died Friday in an isolation unit at North Manchester General Hospital, where he was admitted after being found collapsed on March 3 at his Middleton home, the Manchester Evening News reports.
Blakeley, who was fighting sepsis when he was first admitted to the hospital, tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a party with people who recently traveled to Italy on a ski trip, the newspaper reports.
“They started testing positive for coronavirus,” Blakeley’s son told the Evening News. “Half of the party tested positive, including people they have come into contact with.”
Blakeley’s son had to put on protective gear — including a mask and gloves — in order to be allowed just briefly to visit his father as his condition deteriorated last week, according to the report.
“After 15 minutes I was struggling to breathe properly in it,” he told the newspaper. “Tears were streaming down my face. The hospital don’t like anyone to stay longer than 15 minutes. It took longer to remove the equipment than being with my dad. It sounds awful, seeing him was the most terrifying thing I have ever done.”
At least 35 people in the United Kingdom have died from coronavirus as of Sunday — and another 1,372 people have been diagnosed, BBC News reports.
Funeral arrangements for the grandfather have yet to be announced, but relatives are asking for “acts of kindness” to be done in Blakeley’s name in lieu of flowers.
“Help someone who is lonely or struggling during this time, who needs shopping, child care, or a chat,” relatives said in a tribute. “Post tiny acts of kindness given and received and share. Build something beautiful in Darrell’s memory.”
Blakeley was also remembered as a “gracious gentleman” by St. Michael’s Church in Middleton, where he attended for five decades and sang in its choir. Church officials are now asking for people to add to their “wall of kindness” created in the grandfather’s memory.
“RIP Darrell, we are going to miss you but your memory will live on through these acts of kindness and those who receive them,” church officials wrote in a Facebook tribute.