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Coronavirus: Belfast couple who died on same day laid to rest

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Isobel and Arty Vallely with grandson Noah

Isobel and Arty Vallely with grandson Noah

Isobel and Arty Vallely with grandson Noah

The couple who died from Covid-19 just 12 hours apart were laid to rest yesterday.

Belfast husband and wife Christopher — known as Arty — and Isobel Vallely died in hospital last weekend after being struck down by the virus.

While Arty (79) was cremated at Roselawn, his wife Isobel (77) was buried in Milltown cemetery in the west of the city following a private service for the pair.

Mourners were not allowed to the Mass due to the risk of spreading the disease but instead had to watch an online stream.

Friends and loved ones were allowed into the graveyard for Isobel’s burial but forbidden to go to the crematorium.

The couple, who were married for 53 years, are survived by a daughter Fiona and two sons, Mark and Chris. They lived for some time in England before returning to Belfast in 2003.

Isobel was from the west of the city, where the couple lived until their deaths, while Arty hailed from Ardoyne.

Christopher, who was suffering from lung cancer, took ill and was first brought to the Royal Victoria Hospital but was transferred to the coronavirus centre at the Mater Hospital following a positive test.

Isobel, who was recovering from a stroke, also took ill and was taken to the Mater where she was put in the same room as her husband.

Their daughter Fiona (above), who lives in Tenerife but came back to care for her mother after her stroke, was able to say goodbye to her parents in the hospital.

“I was very grateful (to the staff) that they let us do that under the circumstances, and we had to wear the protective gear and everything, because I know a lot of families haven’t had that chance,” she told the Belfast Telegraph.

“To lose both parents so close together in these circumstances is horrible. It hasn’t fully sunk in and I don’t think it will for a while.”

Fiona described her mum as a “very family-orientated person” while her dad was a “larger than life character”.

Belfast Telegraph