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Armagh family tribute to 'unbelievable' nurses after great-grandad loses fight in hospital


Tony Mitchell on his daughter Maureen's wedding day in 2015

Tony Mitchell on his daughter Maureen's wedding day in 2015

Tony Mitchell on his daughter Maureen's wedding day in 2015

The family of a Co Armagh man who died after contracting Covid-19 have described the nurses who looked after him at Craigavon Area Hospital as "angels".

Tony Mitchell (70), from Armagh, passed away on Saturday.

He had been diagnosed with the virus on April 2.

He is survived by his daughters Ann, Celia, Philomena and Maureen, and the wider family circle. He was predeceased by his wife Marie.

Mr Mitchell's funeral took place on Monday and the family took great comfort after his friends and neighbours lined the streets near his Banbrook Hill home to applaud as the cortège passed by.

The great-grandfather celebrated his 70th birthday on March 7, but a couple of weeks later developed flu-like symptoms.

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His daughter Maureen explained that the family had taken him to hospital on April 1, and just 24 hours later he was diagnosed with coronavirus.

"The first couple of days he was just on normal oxygen and he was doing great," she said. "We were able to phone him to talk but he couldn't really speak for long with his breathing.

"A couple of days after that he went on to the mask for the oxygen so it was going into his nose and mouth. Two weeks after he was admitted I rang the hospital and they said he was back on to the normal oxygen.

"He was sitting up, eating and was in great form but within four hours my sister got a call to say they were going to ventilate him."

After being on the ventilator for one week, Mr Mitchell suffered a heart attack and the family were informed that he only had a matter of hours left.

Despite fighting on for another week, he passed away peacefully at hospital.

"We begged and begged to be at his side but obviously with the government restrictions we couldn't see him," Maureen said. "The nurses were unbelievable and they're just absolute angels. They were just so good.

"His lungs were puckered basically and the fluid built up in pockets. He really had no chance."

A photo, taken at Maureen's wedding in May 2015, was released by the family.

Maureen added: "It will be a great memory for me, it was a great day that day. My wedding was in May and my mummy passed away in the November.

"Me and daddy were very close with me being the youngest.

"He loved us all and we never finished a phone call without saying I love you. We just idolised him. When mummy died he was all we had left."

Mr Mitchell made a living by travelling the country to carry out building work. His daughter said he was an "all-rounder" and could "put his hand to anything".

He was also a successful darts player in the '80s and competed against famous names such as Bobby George, John Lowe and Jocky Wilson.

Encouraging people to stay indoors, Maureen added: "We would have never thought this would have come to our door."

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