Funeral held for mother and sons who died from coronavirus over five days

The triple funeral of a mother and her two sons who died from coronavirus within five days of each other has taken place.

Grandmother Gladys Lewis, 74, from Pentre, South Wales, died at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital on October 29.

Her son Dean Lewis, 44, was found unresponsive at his home in nearby Treorchy the following day and pronounced dead a short time later.

Younger brother Darren, 42, died on November 2 following treatment in intensive care at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital.

All three had tested positive for coronavirus before they died, and their death certificates state Covid-19 as the cause.

On Thursday, mourners socially distanced and wore masks as they lined the streets outside St Peter’s Church in Pentre to listen to the funeral through loudspeakers.

Gladys Lewis
Gladys Lewis, 74, from the village of Pentre, South Wales, died at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital on October 29 (family handout/PA)

The family, who were inside the church, had wanted the funerals of Mrs Lewis and her sons to be held at the same time so they could be together.

After the service, the hearses carrying the three coffins drove through Pentre and were applauded by dozens of mourners outside the church.

All three coffins had been brought into St Peter’s Church the night before the funeral.

Father Haydn England-Simon, who led the service, told the family: “You are right when you say that no-one should ever go through what you have been going through.”

The family called on people to “play their part” to fight coronavirus and follow the rules to limit its spread.

Father Haydn read eulogies to Mrs Lewis and her two sons, describing them as much-loved members of the family as well as the local community.

Mrs Lewis had been married to husband David, 81, for 44 years after meeting him in Blackpool.

They “absolutely adored” each other and were keen dancers, the family said in the eulogy.

The grandmother-of-13 and great-grandmother-of-four would “fight the world and win to make sure her children and grandchildren had what they needed and deserved”.

Father Haydn read: “Gladys absolutely idolised her children, she protected Darren his entire life and loved Dean and Debbie no end.”

Mrs Lewis was described as a proud grandmother and great-grandmother, who knitted clothes for the “little ones” and kept her own copy of their birth certificates in her memory box.

Dean and Darren Lewis
Darren, left, and Dean Lewis both died after testing positive for the virus (family handout/PA)

Father-of-three Dean Lewis met wife Claire, 44, at school and they began dating in 1991.

He had a close relationship with their sons Danny, Declan and Darian, sharing his love of Liverpool Football Club and gaming with them.

Father Haydn read: “Dean had a heart of gold, very much like his mother, and would do anything for anyone.

“Dean will be missed by all who knew him.”

Darren Lewis, who had Down’s Syndrome, was also a keen football fan and would watch Wales and Cardiff City play with his nephews.

He supported Arsenal Football Club and “relished every match”, his family said in his eulogy.

They said he loved being part of family occasions and enjoyed being the centre of attention.

“It was Darren’s fighting spirit that drew people to him and made him who he was – the strong, determined character that was loved by so many,” Father Haydn read.

During the funeral, the hymn All Things Bright And Beautiful was played, as well as Sir Cliff Richard’s The Minute You’re Gone.

Queen’s Friends Will Be Friends was played as each coffin was brought out of the church and placed into a hearse.

The family of Mrs Lewis and her sons previously described how Darren and Mrs Lewis, who had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema, had been shielding.

Darren Lewis
Darren Lewis, 42,supported Arsenal and his family said he ‘relished every match’ (family handout/PA)

Dean had only gone out once a week to shop for his parents.

It is not known how they caught Covid-19, along with 10 other members of the family, but it is believed to be through community transmission.

Mrs Lewis developed symptoms of the virus around a week before her death and was admitted to hospital on October 25.

Dean Lewis tested positive after his mother was admitted to hospital. He died on October 30.

Darren Lewis was admitted to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital and was later transferred to the intensive care unit, where he died on November 2.

The family were unable to be with Darren before his death, due to them testing positive for Covid-19 and having to self-isolate.

In the funeral, Father Haydn paid tribute to NHS staff who were working through the pandemic.

Writing in the order of service, the family said: “As a family we cannot express how much your love, messages and support mean to us all.

“We would like to say thank-you to each and every one of you. Special thanks to Father Haydn and to everyone who has supported the family during this difficult time.”

The family also thanked Rob and Alex Thomas Brown, who supplied the sound system to allow for people to listen to the service outside the church.

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