Ipswich man dies of Covid just 10 days after positive test - leaving wife of 61 years heartbroken

George Robert Shaw died after contracting Covid-19, leaving behind his wife of 61 years Eileen. 

George Robert Shaw died after contracting Covid-19, leaving behind his wife of 61 years Eileen. - Credit: Family of George Robert Shaw

The family of an 85-year-old great-grandad who was described as a "bundle of joy" say they have been torn apart after he died at Ipswich Hospital just 10 days after testing positive for coronavirus.  

George Robert Shaw, a father-of-two, grandad-of-eight and great-grandad to 20 children, sadly lost his short battle with Covid-19 on Wednesday, just a week after he was admitted. 

Mr Shaw, known as 'Gramps' and described as the "head of the family", also leaves behind his wife of 61 years, Eileen, who he hasn't spent a day apart from since they married.

George and Eileen Shaw have not spent any time apart since they got married 61 years ago. 

George and Eileen Shaw have not spent any time apart since they got married 61 years ago. - Credit: Family of George Robert Shaw

Mr Shaw grew up in Bethnal Green, in London, and joined the army before having a number of careers.

He worked in various roles for the Royal Mail and later became a school caretaker, where he worked for many years at Erith School. 

His family are devastated that Covid took his larger-than-life character away from them, urging others to take this disease seriously and cherish time spent with loved ones. 

His grandson David Wright, 36, said Mr Shaw was his "hero", adding that life will never be the same without him and it has torn the family apart.

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"He was my world," said Mr Wright, who lives in Stowmarket with his partner and four children. 

"He was an extremely proud man, he always put his family first and he was loved by everyone - even if they had only met him once. 

"He was a bundle of joy and I looked up to him so much. It kills me to know he won't be here to see my children grow up."

Mr and Mrs Shaw, who originally come from London and moved to Ipswich in the early 2000s, both tested positive for the virus on Sunday, January 3, after their son - who is in their support bubble - was hospitalised by the disease. 

George Shaw (pictured far right) with his son Steven, wife Eileen, Paul Wright, and daughter Teresa Wright.

George Shaw (pictured far right) with his son Steven, wife Eileen, Paul Wright, and daughter Teresa Wright. - Credit: Family of George Robert Shaw

At first, they both just had a temperature, but Mr Shaw's symptoms seemed to progress quite quickly, having difficulty breathing and getting hot and cold, before being taken to hospital in the early hours of Wednesday, January 6. 

The virus had taken its toll on Mr Shaw's lungs and he was taken into ICU where he was put on the breathing aid machine known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).

Unfortunately, Mr Shaw became extremely reliant on the machine and even taking his mask off for one-minute to take a sip of water would cause extreme breathing difficulties. At this point the doctors made the family aware that this was the end for him.

He was visited by his wife and two children - Teresa Wright, 56, and Steven Shaw, 60 - who were only able to see him for less than an hour and in full PPE, before he passed away later that night.  

His daughter, Teresa Wright, said: "He was the most wonderful, kind and amazing father. I could not have asked for a better dad."

George Robert Shaw with his great-grandson Charlie-Thomas, who idolized his grandad. 

George Robert Shaw with his great-grandson Charlie-Thomas, who idolized his grandad. - Credit: Family of George Robert Shaw

She had not seen her father since before Christmas, and that was only through the window, so seeing him in that state in hospital was awful.

"He was so distressed and he couldn't breathe. He just kept crying," she said. 

"The nurses and doctors do an amazing job and it is heart-breaking to see what they have to go through every day. 

"But we are devastated that we cannot give him the send-off he deserves."

None of the family has been able to get together to grieve due to the lockdown and they say they have been "robbed" of their last moments with him.

Mr Wright said all of Mr Shaw's grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who "idolised" the man, are losing out on having their 'Gramps' around while growing up.

He also said: "Because of Covid he will not be able to be washed or dressed for the funeral, so there is no dignity or respect when they pass away.

"We have also just found out that we are unable to respect my grandad's wishes of his grandsons carrying him down the aisle. Covid has stopped us doing this."

He said the virus doesn't feel real until it hits your family, and despite all the precautions you take it can still get you. 

"Our lives are never going to be the same," he said. "So please do cherish every moment you have with your families, as this virus is disgusting and very real."

To help the family celebrate Mr Shaw's life, you can donate towards his funeral here. 

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