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The human cost of the pandemic: Stories behind the faces of just some of those lost to Covid-19 in Northern Ireland

Families share their grief and heartbreak at death of loved ones during the pandemic

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The faces of just some of the Northern Ireland people who have fallen victim to the deadly coronavirus

The faces of just some of the Northern Ireland people who have fallen victim to the deadly coronavirus

The faces of just some of the Northern Ireland people who have fallen victim to the deadly coronavirus

Families across Northern Ireland have been left heartbroken and devastated by the loss of their loved ones to Covid-19.

The death toll here stands at 521, but mere numbers can't possibly reflect the scale of grief and sorrow those affected by the virus are facing.

Below are the names of just 49 local people who passed away after contracting the virus and the date of their death.

They were not just numbers. They were fathers, mothers, grandparents, sisters and brothers.

Billy Allan (67), Newtownards: Monday, March 23

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Billy Allan, 67

Billy Allan, 67

Billy Allan, 67


Billy's devastated sister Joan Fulton (60) said: "This disease will kill many if we don't act properly. Stay at home, that's the simple message."

Ruth Burke (82), Newtownabbey: Tuesday, March 24

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Ruth Burke, 82

Ruth Burke, 82

Ruth Burke, 82


Ruth's heartbroken daughter Brenda Doherty urged people to keep to the rules on social distancing and urged those flouting the regulations to "wise up".

Magdalene Mitchell (80), Belfast: Wednesday, March 25

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Magdalene Mitchell (80)

Magdalene Mitchell (80)

Magdalene Mitchell (80)


Magdalene became the first known victim of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland who contracted the virus in a care home. She was a resident in Bradley Manor on Belfast's Crumlin Road.

Linda Wilson (64), Greenisland: Wednesday, March 25

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Linda Wilson, 64

Linda Wilson, 64

Linda Wilson, 64


Linda was the seventh person to die of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland and passed away not knowing that her beloved brother Graham Campbell had succumbed to a heart attack days earlier.

Anne Best (72), Derrylin: Wednesday, March 25

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Anne Best, 72

Anne Best, 72

Anne Best, 72


Anne's husband Tom was told to self-isolate and was effectively banned from attending his wife's funeral. They were married for 51 years.

Peter Breen (77), Armagh: Saturday, March 28

Administrator of the Cathedral Parish of Armagh Fr Peter McAnenly, explained that Peter passed away just two weeks after his beloved wife Sheila.

Christopher Vallely (79) and his wife Isobel (77), Belfast: Saturday, March 28

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Isobel and Christopher Vallely

Isobel and Christopher Vallely

Isobel and Christopher Vallely


The couple died within hours of each other in the same room at the Mater Hospital in Belfast after they both contracted Covid-19.

Bobbie Davidson, Banbridge: Sunday, March 29

The Banbridge man was the conductor of Poyntzpass Silver Band, whose members said they were "shocked" at his passing.

Terry Nellis (57), Belfast: Wednesday, April 1

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Terry Nellis, 57

Terry Nellis, 57

Terry Nellis, 57


Expat Terry, who was originally from north Belfast, passed away in an intensive care ward in New York and listened to voices from home in the last two hours of his life. His brother Brendan said the hardest part was not being able to be at his bedside.

William (84) and Madge (82) Finlay, Ardstraw: Thursday, April 2 and Friday, April 3

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Madge Finlay, 82

Madge Finlay, 82

Madge Finlay, 82


William and Madge, who had been married for 54 years, passed away within a day of each other at Altnagelvin hospital.

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William Finlay, 84

William Finlay, 84

William Finlay, 84

Mary Shortt (78), Belfast: Thursday, April 2

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Mary Shortt, 78

Mary Shortt, 78

Mary Shortt, 78


Mary, a mother-of-eight, was initially suspected of having food poisoning when she began to feel unwell at the end of March. She tested positive for the virus in the Mater Hospital, where she passed away.

Kevin Toal, Armagh: Friday, April 3

Kevin Toal 


Kevin was a senior figure in the delivery of mental health services in the Armagh and Dungannon areas before his retirement.

Rev Ivan McKnight (71), Belfast: Monday, April 6

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Rev Ivan McKnight, 71

Rev Ivan McKnight, 71

Rev Ivan McKnight, 71


The retired Rev McKnight was described as a "Godly, gentle spirit" by Rev Steve Stockman, Minister at Fitzroy Presbyterian in Belfast, following his death.

Jackie Farrell (88), Strabane

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Jackie Farrell, 88

Jackie Farrell, 88

Jackie Farrell, 88


Jackie died just one day after being admitted to Altnagelvin Hospital in April. His daughter Maria said if anyone thought they were exempt from coronavirus, "they were barking up the wrong tree".

Ronnie Falloon (84), Lisburn: Tuesday, April 7

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Ronnie Falloon, 84

Ronnie Falloon, 84

Ronnie Falloon, 84


Lisburn man Ronnie died in Rosevale Lodge Care Home just a few hours after becoming ill. His family said serious questions needed to be asked of private nursing homes over how they handled the crisis.

Jim Carson, Portadown: Tuesday, April 7

Salvation Army stalwart Jim lost his battle with Covid-19 on April 7. His wife, Salvation Army captain Isobel Carson, had also been in intensive care at the Ulster Hospital due to the virus.

Josephine Brown (70), Belfast: Tuesday, April 7

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Josephine Brown, 70

Josephine Brown, 70

Josephine Brown, 70

Josephine's daughter Rhonda Tait said: "My mummy was 70 and she wasn't ready to die. She wanted to live and she really didn't want to die alone." Josephine, who was from Belfast, died in the Mater Hospital.

Josephine Lidster (72), Belfast: Wednesday, April 8

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Josephine Lidster, 72

Josephine Lidster, 72

Josephine Lidster, 72


The great-grandmother's family spoke of the "harrowing" experience of Josephine, who was from west Belfast, passing away without her relatives by her bedside.

Larry McManus (93), Enniskillen: Wednesday, April 8

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Larry McManus, 93

Larry McManus, 93

Larry McManus, 93


The daughter of Larry from Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh - one of our oldest coronavirus victims - spoke of her pain at the "terrible virus" that took her father's life.

Edwin Cotter (51), Ballymena: Wednesday, April 8

Edwin, who was originally from Ballymena, passed away at Royal Stoke University Hospital. The pastor at Cornerstone Elim Church left behind his wife Lorna and two sons, Aaron and Sam.

Vincent Macklin (55), Belfast: Thursday, April 9

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Vincent Macklin, 55

Vincent Macklin, 55

Vincent Macklin, 55


The family of the west Belfast man, who died from Covid-19 after he was deemed not fit for a ventilator due to a physical disability, said they "will never understand why his life was worth less than that of another".

Fran O'Dwyer (63), Downpatrick: Thursday, April 9

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Fran O’Dwyer, 63

Fran O’Dwyer, 63

Fran O’Dwyer, 63


Musician Fran, who was originally from Downpatrick, passed away at his home near Liverpool last month.

David Montgomery (55), Trillick: Saturday, April 11

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Farmers in Co Tyrone lined the road to pay their final respects to David Montgomery

Farmers in Co Tyrone lined the road to pay their final respects to David Montgomery

Farmers in Co Tyrone lined the road to pay their final respects to David Montgomery


Co Tyrone man David died at the South West Acute Hospital and is survived by his three sisters, Anne, Liz and Helen.

Paddy McIlvenny, Belfast: Tuesday, April 14

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Paddy McIlvenny

Paddy McIlvenny

Paddy McIlvenny


Belfast man Paddy, who was well-known in Antrim GAA circles, passed away after contracting the virus last month.

Mabel Donnelly (71), Keady: Wednesday, April 15

The Keady pensioner passed away on her 71st birthday and was laid to rest following a private funeral.

Martina McCarron, Fintona: Wednesday, April 15

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Martina McCarron

Martina McCarron

Martina McCarron


Fintona mother-of-four Martina worked as a carer in NW Care's Omagh team and was described as a "hero" by her grieving colleagues.

Declan Grimes (61), Carrickmore: Wednesday, April 15

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Declan Grimes, 61

Declan Grimes, 61

Declan Grimes, 61


Poultry farmer Declan from Carrickmore spent almost a month on a ventilator in South West Acute Hospital's intensive care unit before he died.

Yvonne Mathers (70), Enniskillen: Thursday, April 16

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Yvonne Mathers, 70

Yvonne Mathers, 70

Yvonne Mathers, 70


The former teacher from Enniskillen died after contracting Covid-19 and her daughter Joanne said she had hoped her "formidable mother" could have overcome the dreadful virus.

John Burns (68), Belfast: Thursday, April 16

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John Burns, 68

John Burns, 68

John Burns, 68


John passed away at Our Lady's Care Home on the Falls Road in Belfast. He had been a resident at the home for just over a month when he died.

Ignatius (89) and Mary (86) O'Connell, Belfast: Tuesday, April 14 and Friday, April 17

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Ignatius O’Connell, 89

Ignatius O’Connell, 89

Ignatius O’Connell, 89


The married couple from north Belfast died within days of each other after contracting Covid-19.

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Mary O’Connell, 86

Mary O’Connell, 86

Mary O’Connell, 86

Teresa Brady (94), Belfast: Saturday, April 18

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Teresa Brady, 94

Teresa Brady, 94

Teresa Brady, 94


Teresa's family kept a vigil in the car park of Dunmurry's Kilwee Care Home due to social distancing regulations. The west Belfast woman had been in the home for the last three years of her life.

Oliver Dorrian (81), Carnmoney: Saturday, April 18

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Oliver Dorrian, 81

Oliver Dorrian, 81

Oliver Dorrian, 81


Oliver's granddaughter Julie said she would take great comfort in being able to stand at his graveside to say a final farewell.

Pat McManus (60), Strabane: Sunday, April 19

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Pat McManus, 60

Pat McManus, 60

Pat McManus, 60


Pat, originally from Strabane, was an NHS nurse who contracted Covid-19 from a patient. He lived in England and worked at Stafford County Hospital.

Kathleen Fox (68), Newtownabbey: Monday, April 20

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Kathleen Fox, 68

Kathleen Fox, 68

Kathleen Fox, 68


The grandmother-of-seven set up a fundraising page for the NHS from her bed in Antrim Area Hospital days before she died.

Patrick Hughes (69), Caledon: Tuesday, April 21

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Patrick Hughes, 69

Patrick Hughes, 69

Patrick Hughes, 69


The family of Patrick got to say their last goodbyes via a video call from their cars at Craigavon Area Hospital thanks to the help of the healthcare staff.

Fr John McNamara (81), Londonderry: Thursday, April 23

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Fr John McNamara, 81

Fr John McNamara, 81

Fr John McNamara, 81


Fr McNamara was admitted to the Ulster Hospital in February for surgery on his back. After being transferred to Musgrave Park Hospital, it was believed he caught the virus there and passed away.

David Andrews (67), Newry: Thursday, April 23

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David Andrews, 67

David Andrews, 67

David Andrews, 67


The former officer in the Royal Black Institution from Newry was described as a "great family man" after passing away following a four-week battle with coronavirus.

Tony Mitchell (70), Armagh: Saturday, April 25

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Tony Mitchell, 70

Tony Mitchell, 70

Tony Mitchell, 70


The family of Armagh man Tony described the nurses who looked after him at Craigavon Area Hospital as "angels".

James Stevenson (91), Drumbo: Wednesday, April 29

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James Stevenson, 91

James Stevenson, 91

James Stevenson, 91


Former Ulster and Ireland rugby star James was given a 50/50 chance of survival by doctors after contracting Covid-19 but passed away at Lagan Valley Hospital.

Ann Archer (72), Belfast: Wednesday, April 29

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Ann Archer, 72

Ann Archer, 72

Ann Archer, 72


Mother-of-five Ann was transferred to the Mater Hospital from Oak Tree Manor nursing home in Dunmurry before she passed away. Her daughter Nicola said she was devastated by her death.

Norman (91) and Winnie (92) Wilkinson, Belfast: Saturday, April 25 and Thursday, April 30

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Norman and Winnie as a young couple

Norman and Winnie as a young couple

Norman and Winnie as a young couple


Norman and Winnie's daughter Jackie said the speed of her parents' demise shocked her and her siblings. The couple were married for 68 years and lived in the Four Winds area of Belfast.

Ivor McQuitty (84), Ballymena: Saturday, May 2

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Ivor McQuitty, 84

Ivor McQuitty, 84

Ivor McQuitty, 84


Ivor passed away at Antrim Area Hospital after testing positive for the virus on Sunday, April 19.

Luciana Viviana da Silva, Dungannon: Sunday, May 3

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Luciana Viviana da Silva died just a day after becoming unwell

Luciana Viviana da Silva died just a day after becoming unwell

Luciana Viviana da Silva died just a day after becoming unwell


Ms da Silva, also known as Anoy Soriano, was living in Dungannon after relocating from East Timor. She was that country's first known death linked to the virus.

Bridget Kerr (88), Belfast: Friday, May 8

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Bridget Kerr, 88

Bridget Kerr, 88

Bridget Kerr, 88


Bridget, known as Bridie, died at Massereene Manor nursing home one week after testing positive for Covid-19.

Bernadette Gibney (62), Belfast: Sunday, May 17

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Bernadette Gibney, 62

Bernadette Gibney, 62

Bernadette Gibney, 62


The family of Bernadette from Belfast said they had been left "shattered" by her death.

Belfast Telegraph