'Covid victims are family members, not merely numbers,' says heartbroken Telford daughter

“People who die from Covid are treasured family members not just numbers,” says the family of a former businessman who died from the virus.

Kenny Barber with wife
Kenny Barber with wife

The devastated family of Telford grandfather Kenny Barber who ran well-known electrician outfit A&K services have paid tribute to his memory and praised the staff at the Princess Royal Hospital who cared for him.

Mr Barber, of Richmond Avenue, Trench, died at 7.30pm in the high dependency unit on November 5 – a month before his 70th birthday.

Kenny Barber poses with a Vespa in Tenby in 2011

Daughter Sarah Barber, 43, of Hadley, explains: “He was mom’s soulmate. They had 49 years together. He was my hero. He was 69 years old, full of life and a happy man with so much love to give.

"I wanted to speak about my dad because in the news we hear about the number of deaths, but the people who die from Covid are treasured family members not just numbers or statistics.

“My dad was a much-loved husband, father and grandfather. His death came as such a big shock and has knocked the wind out of us all.

“Last year my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent treatment to shrink it as it was at stage two. It was contained and luckily not spreading. He finished his treatment on October 7 and all was well.

Kenny and Anne Barber on their wedding day in 1973

“He then went on to have his flu jab as he suffered with pulmonary fibrosis and was vulnerable during winter months.

“Around two weeks after that he begun to feel unwell and was admitted to hospital on October 29 where he was taken to the high dependency unit. We spoke via video calls and used texts, and at that point we thought he was going to be coming home.

"He had a Covid test whilst he was in there and tested positive.

Kenny with Sarah, aged four, at Butlins

“We then received the devastating news by a telephone call that my dad had a 50-50 per cent chance of survival, but due to his lung condition they said they couldn’t put the tubes down like in most cases.

“He did show signs of improving a little bit then dramatically his health declined and this was when we were informed by the doctor that he was not going to pull through.

“As you can imagine this was heartbreaking to hear. The team agreed that myself and mom could spend his last hours with him. We was kitted up with masks and full PPE. We couldn’t touch my dad without wearing it.

Kenny Barber with daughter Sarah on her wedding day in 2004

“Seeing Dad lying in the bed with a mask on that was pulled so tight and was so heavily sedated was a most traumatic experience. I sat talking to him and stroking his hand just hoping he knew I that was there.

“I watched my mom sitting there crying over him asking not leave her and to watch this was heartbreaking as I felt helpless.

Kenny Barber on holiday in Spain in 2008

"I played him a video from my phone of his eldest granddaughter, when she was aged five, and him singing Catch a Falling Star together. He used to love singing karaoke.”

Miss Barber added: “I just would like to thank the staff and the doctor on the high dependency unit for looking after my dad. The support they gave to my mom and myself was excellent.”

The father-of-two is also survived by seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

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