'This can happen to anyone' - wife's warning in tribute to dad-of-three who died after showing coronavirus symptoms

A woman who lost her husband to coronavirus has urged people to ‘observe the rules’ and ‘appreciate what you’ve got’.

Wednesday, 15th April 2020, 6:00 am

After returning from a trip with his wife to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary, Phil Graham, 59, displayed symptoms of the disease.

He was taken to hospital from his East Herrington home last month while his wife, Susan Graham, was not allowed in the ambulance.

He passed away on Tuesday, March 31 and Sue was unable to be by his side.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Family man Phil Graham, who lost his life to coronavirus on March 31.

For the past decade Phil worked as a driving instructor, but previously taught maths at a number of schools. A highly-educated man, he held four degrees and a doctorate.

Both committed Christians, Phil and Sue first met at a Pentecostal meeting.

The “proper family man” also leaves behind their three children, Nathan, Joy and Rebecca.

Wife Sue said: “We’d gone away for our anniversary on March 9 and afterwards he had sinus problems and a sore throat. Then he was being sick. That was on the Sunday morning, March 22.

“I phoned for an ambulance.

Read More

Read More
Live coronavirus updates: Number of deaths in the North East reaches 567 as UK t...

“I told him I loved him and he said he loved me. I just thank God that the last words he spoke to me were ‘I love you.’ I didn’t get there in time. I thank God he didn’t know anything about it.

“Because of the restrictions, everything has to be done over the phone. No one can come and see me.”

Phil’s funeral is at Sunderland Crematorium on Monday, April 27. Restrictions mean that very few mourners are allowed.

However, Sunderland driving instructors will follow the cortege as a guard of honour. Red balloons will also be released.

Sue added: “We want everyone at the funeral to wear red. It represents Christ’s blood and is the colour of love.

“I just want to say that Phil was the love of my life and he didn’t deserve to die like this. I want people to observe the rules. This can happen to anyone.

“Share with your family and tell them what they mean to you. Do the things you should be doing. Stop and smell the roses and appreciate what you’ve got.

“I thought I had another 30 years with Phil.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world.

But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you.

How to subscribe to the print edition:

It’s easy to subscribe to your local newspaper. We have arranged a special 20 per cent off subscription offer for people to take advantage of.

Visit www.localsubsplus.co.uk, choose the newspaper title, the type of subscription and enter your details.