Childhood sweethearts, both 58, die of Covid 12 days apart

Childhood sweethearts, both 58, die of Covid just 12 days apart as their heartbroken care worker son blames himself for bringing the virus into his parents’ home

  • Martyn and Tina Rodgers, both 58, died 12 days apart after both catching Covid
  • The couple from Leeds, West Yorkshire, died in hospital on January 2 and 14
  • The childhood sweethearts were ‘inseparable until the end’, their family said
  • Their sons Craig, 33, and Andy, 25, pleaded with people to follow lockdown rules 

Childhood sweethearts who were married for more than 25 years have died of Covid just 12 days apart – as their sons issued a heartfelt plea for people to follow lockdown rules. 

Martyn and Tina Rodgers, both 58, who met as teenagers, were inseparable until the end, their family said.

The couple’s heartbroken son Craig, who blames himself for bringing the virus into his parents home said: ‘We’re the living proof that this is awful, I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.’

The couple were rushed to hospital in December after taking ill at their home in Leeds, West Yorks. 

Tina, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 12 years ago, died on January 2, having spent Christmas and New Year in hospital.

Her husband Martyn – who was given the news of her death while he fought the virus – passed away on January 14, just 40 minutes after he was taken off oxygen.

Martyn and Tina Rodgers, both 58, who met as teenagers and married in their early twenties, were inseparable until the end, their heartbroken family have said.

Martyn and Tina, who met as teenagers and married in their early twenties, were inseparable until the end, their heartbroken family said

A couple in their 60s has died of coronavirus within nine days of each other and their daughter had to say goodbye on a video call.  

Grieving daughter Katie Tong, from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, said her parents Susan and John Docherty had both been ‘super-cautious’ about the virus.

She made an emotional plea for people to take care, and told of the heartbreaking last call with her father – which had to take place over video.

Susan Docherty, 62, and her husband John, 65, died within nine days of each other at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital respectively in November.

Katie, 32, said the family had been left devastated at the sudden loss of their parents, who had been married for 44 years.

Katie is now urging everyone across Shropshire to keep safe.

She said: ‘I have lost two people I loved dearly due to Covid. Covid killed them. 

‘Please take this seriously. I’ve lost my mum and dad, but this could happen to anyone. Please be extra careful – it can strike at any time and turn your life upside down.’  

Craig, 33, said: ‘It is so hard seeing people flout the rules and not taking this seriously.’ 

Their second son Andy, 25, added: ‘I probably didn’t take this seriously at first. 

‘I just hope people realise the rules the scientists have put in place are there for a reason and we need to follow them.’ 

Tragically Craig blames himself for his parents death as he fears he might have been the one who brought the virus into their home.  

He said: ‘I am a carer and I blame myself as I could have taken it into the house when I went into care for my mum.’

Speaking about his loss, he added: ‘We knew it was a bit of a ticking timebomb with my mum’s health, she didn’t last long at all and she passed away on January 2.

‘I think it was the news of my mum going and not being strong enough to breathe on his own that killed my dad.

‘The hospital were absolutely fantastic and they let me and Andy go in and see my dad.

‘I started preparing myself for the worst. He was on 100% oxygen and struggling to breathe. It just wasn’t my dad, he had tubes and wires everywhere.

‘We had a conversation with the consultants and they told us there was nothing else they could do, so we asked them to reduce his oxygen.

‘His lungs were so scarred by Covid, he only lasted 40 minutes off the oxygen.’

Martyn, a former warehouse supervisor, was rushed to St James’s Hospital in Leeds on December 19 after he thought he had a chest infection, but it turned out to be coronavirus.

Just two days later Tina, a former shop assistant, was also admitted to the same hospital after having difficulty breathing. 

The couple met as teenagers at school and briefly split up before Tina married another man.

However, that relationship did not last and soon after they divorced, she remarried her soulmate, Martyn.

When Tina was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Martyn retired from work to help look after her at home.

The rugby league-mad family were Leeds Rhinos fans and would travel all over following their beloved club.

Martyn and Craig were season ticket holders at the club’s Headingley Stadium and often made the trip to France to watch them play against Catalans Dragons.

Martyn’s season ticket for next season has been transferred to Andy, who will poignantly attend the games alongside his brother in his dad’s memory.

Craig said: ‘They were childhood sweethearts and they were the life and soul of any party.

‘Dad absolutely loved the rugby, my mum got dragged there with him sometimes.’ 

Andy, a self-employed handyman, said he hopes more people will follow the rules and understand the reality of Covid.

He said: ‘They were the sort of people who were always busy helping other people.

‘They would do anything for anyone. If they thought well of you, they just couldn’t do enough for you. That’s just the sort of people they were.

‘It got the point with my mum where the doctors were just keeping her as comfortable as possible, they couldn’t help her or make her better.

‘I probably didn’t take this seriously at first. I just hope people realise the rules the scientists have put in place are there for a reason and we need to follow them.’

A GoFundMe fundraising page has been set up to support the brothers and cover funeral costs. Click here to donate. 

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