Daughter of Wakefield man who died after Covid left his lungs 'full of holes' begs people to protect their families from virus

The daughter of a Wakefield man who died from Covid-19 has begged people to protect their families, saying she hopes “no one else ever has to know how it feels” to lose a parent to the virus.

Monday, 1st February 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 1st February 2021, 11:02 am
The daughter of a Wakefield man who died from Covid-19 has begged people to protect their families, saying she hopes “no one else ever has to know how it feels” to lose a parent to the virus. Darren Madeley is pictured with daughter Amy and fiancee Jayne prior to the pandemic.

Darren Madeley, 50, passed away at Pinderfields Hospital in January.

A much-loved father, grandfather, fiancee and stepfather, Darren had no underlying health conditions, and daughter Amy said he had always been confident he would make a full recovery if he were to contract the virus.

But just seven weeks after testing positive, he passed away, after the virus left his lungs “full of holes” and unable to breathe, even with the help of a ventilator.

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Darren, pictured with daughter Laura and granddaughter Caelyn, passed away at Pinderfields Hospital in January.

Amy, 27, has shared her father’s story in the hope that it will inspire others to take every possible step to protect their families.

She urged people who may be feeling frustrated by lockdown restrictions to "put that passion into protecting your family".

She said: “My dad was much loved by his children and grandchildren. He had a fiancee and step-children.

“He had no underlying health conditions. He was healthy, just a general 50-year-old man. He stuck to all the coronavirus rules, but he didn’t get any help, so he had no choice but to work.

“My dad was always healthy, confident that if he got it he’d be fine. He always thought that if he got it he’d get over it.

“We still don’t understand why Covid took my dad. He was an amazing man who was loved by absolutely everyone who knew him.”

Darren, who worked as a joiner for many years, contracted the virus in November, along with several other members of his family. But while the others recovered quickly, he became seriously unwell.

He was admitted to hospital, and sent home days later after showing signs of recovery.

But just 10 days after being discharged, he was admitted once more, and deteriorated quickly.

Amy said: “When he first went in he was able to text and speak. We knew he was getting more poorly because he stopped. We had to ring the hospital to find out what was going on.

“We didn’t get to say goodbye. We only got a 30 second phone call before he went on the ventilator.

“He was gasping for breath and he was crying and I was crying. I said ‘I love you so much, please fight this.’ And he promised he would.

“That absolutely traumatised me. It turned out to be the last time I ever spoke to him.

“Then we got a call from the doctor saying there’s no way he can survive.

“He was only allowed two people to say goodbye, but he had three children and a fiancee. His fiancee and my older sister went.”

Darren spent Christmas and New Year alone in hospital, before passing away on January 15 with fiancee Jayne and daughter Laura by his side.

Amy says that her family’s loss has only been exacerbated by social distancing rules, which mean many members of her extended family have been unable to see each other, as they live in different households.

She said: “The pain that we’ve been through since he got poorly has been awful. It’s a pain we don’t wish on anybody.

“We couldn’t even be together as a family. We can’t grieve, because we’re not allowed to.

“I hope no one else ever has to know how it feels. I could never understand how it felt to lose a parent, but now I know and I wish I didn’t have to.

“Not only have we been robbed of my dad, we’ve been robbed of a funeral. We were only allowed 16 people and my dad was loved by hundreds.”

But Amy hopes that Darren’s story will inspire others to protect themselves and their loved ones, warning that there is “no guarantee” that anyone will be safe from the virus

“I want people to be aware,” she said. “My dad was 50 years old with no underlying health conditions. Covid killed him.

“It’s like a game of Russian Roulette. All the family got it but my dad was the only one who died.

"My dad really didn't think he would die from Covid. He was very confident that he’d get over it.

“People need to be aware that you just really don’t know if it’s going to be you. There's absolutely no guarantee, whatever your age.

“Instead of putting all your hatred into rebelling against lockdown, put that passion into protecting your family.

“If I can do something for dad, I want to try and save other people’s lives.”