Northern Ireland news

Family pay painfully private farewell to father 'robbed of years' after contracting Covid in Craigavon hospital

John Fleming from Loughgilly, Co Armagh was diagnosed with Covid-19 on August 17 at Craigavon Area Hospital where he was being treated in the haematology ward

THE family of John Fleming have paid a painfully private farewell to the 79-year-old "robbed of years" after contracting coronavirus in Craigavon Area Hospital.

Covid-19 restrictions meant his funeral service was simple family prayers at his Rathconvil Road home in the Co Armagh village of Loughgilly yesterday morning, before his remains were taken to Roselawn Crematorium.

Mr Fleming, who had been admitted to Craigavon for observation while undergoing a new treatment for his blood cancer, had been due to be discharged just "a day or so" after he was infected.

The former heavy-plant mechanic, who was being treated for myeloma, told his family he blamed the hospital for allowing the deadly virus to be passed to patients.

He is one of four people who have died after being infected in the haematology ward.

John Fleming pictured with his grandchildren. Picture from Aaron Stewart/Facebook

His son Antony Fleming wrote an emotional post on his Facebook account hours before yesterday's 10am service, making clear the family still hold the hospital responsible.

"Today I say goodbye to a man who was cruelly taken away from us whilst under Craigavon Area Hospital's care.

"He caught covid in the haematology ward while undergoing treatment for cancer which was manageable.

"He was robbed of the years I'm certain he had left."

Mr Fleming said his father had "a special bond with" his grandchildren and also had three great-grandchildren "whom he loved dearly".

"He loved good craic, and a hearty laugh. He loved to play and mess about with the kids. He was at his happiest working around machinery, he was a great thinker, how to make things better."

Antony Fleming shared a picture of his father working on a shear grab `which was a brilliant success'. Picture from Antony Fleming

He shared a picture of his father working on a shear grab "which was a brilliant success".

"May he rest in peace and maybe himself and his brother George be together again and go doing what they loved cutting up scrap metal and wheeling and dealing.

"RIP Daddy you be greatly missed by us all... you'll never be forgotten your antics are legendary. Love you always."

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