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Coronavirus: Heartbroken son of Tyrone nurse Pat McManus 'devastated' dad won't see his first child


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Pat McManus and his three sons Kevin, Adrian and Stephen

Pat McManus and his three sons Kevin, Adrian and Stephen

Pat McManus and his three sons Kevin, Adrian and Stephen

The heartbroken son of a Co Tyrone nurse who died after being diagnosed with Covid-19 has spoken of his pain as his father will never get to meet his first child due in the coming weeks.

Pat McManus, originally from Townsend Street in Strabane, passed away in the early hours of last Sunday after contracting the virus from a patient at the hospital where he worked.

The 60-year-old, who lived in north London, worked at North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary before joining Stafford Hospital.

Prior to his death, the father-of-three had been a nurse for more than 40 years.

Pat had been with his partner Lena Vincent for over 10 years and was a grandfather-of-five.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, his eldest son Kevin (38) said his father had been "proud" to work for the NHS and also as a trade union representative.

A son of the late Joseph and Peggy McManus, a well-known SDLP councillor, Pat along with his ex-wife Anne-Marie, also a nurse, and their sons moved from Greysteel in Co Londonderry to London in 1994.

Despite this, Kevin said he and his two brothers, Adrian (37) and Stephen (32), were never allowed to forget their Irish roots.

"He signed us up to the underage hurling and football teams and also co-founded the local Celtic supporters club," he said.

While he didn't come from a nursing background himself, Pat's family members were inspired by him to also work in the healthcare sector.

Having initially studied nursing, Kevin worked as a surgical assistant in an operating theatre in his early 20s while Stephen went on to become a midwife.

Despite having been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in recent years, Pat, who only turned 60 on March 3, had insisted he wasn't going to let his fellow NHS staff down in the fight against coronavius.

"We told him as a family that maybe he shouldn't move from a managerial role back to the frontline but he was determined to be with his colleagues," said Kevin, who now works for the London Tube operator TfL.

"Dad knew 100% what he was letting himself in for.

"He was a big strong man but as we know this cruel virus takes no prisoners.

"His long-term plan was to return home to Strabane when he retired and that was where he wanted to be laid to rest."

Despite Pat initially telling his sons that he had "a really bad flu", Kevin said his father's condition deteriorated and he was treated in intensive care for seven days.

The family were called to the hospital early on Sunday morning following complications during the night but lockdown restrictions meant only Adrian could see his father "at the end".

"The most difficult part was not being able to be with him," Kevin said.

Kevin said his family have been hugely comforted by the many messages of support and sympathy over recent days and commended the "brilliant" hospital staff for caring for Pat in his final days.

Kevin and his wife Joanne (36) are expecting their first child in mid-June and he is saddened that his dad will never be able to meet his sixth grandchild.

"It will be some light in the darkness and I'm putting all my positive energy into that at the moment," he said.

Belfast Telegraph