Daughter's anger after being restricted to eight people at dad's funeral in Sunderland on same day as alleged Downing Street gathering

A Sunderland woman whose father suffered alone in hospital and was restricted to eight people at his funeral says she feels ‘angry’ with Boris Johnson after claims Downing Street officials held an alleged gathering in No10’s garden on the very same day during lockdown in May 2020.

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 4:58 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 6:17 pm

Michelle Miller, 53 from Springwell in Sunderland sadly lost her father, Ernie Miller to pneumonia on April 14, 2020 during the coronavirus lockdown.

Ernie, who was a chef in the army, had spent four weeks at Sunderland Royal Hospital alone as covid restrictions meant that visitors were not allowed.

Michelle says her father was also suffering from dementia at the time and had ‘forgotten’ faces by time he returned home.

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Ernie Miller sadly died in April 2020, during the coronavirus lockdown.

He died aged 81 after being discharged from hospital just two weeks prior.

‘Much-loved’ Ernie had seven children, 14 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren but restrictions in place during lockdown meant only eight people could attend his funeral.

Ms Miller says she has been left ‘angry’ and ‘annoyed’ following the alleged Downing Street gathering which is said to have taken place on May 20, 2020 – the day of her father’s funeral.

It's reported that around 100 people were invited to ‘socially-distanced’ drinks in the Downing Street garden on that date in an email sent by Martin Reynolds, the Prime Minister’s principal private secretary.

Howard Crozier who died in March 2020, and daughter Susie who held her father's funeral a month before an alleged party at Downing Street in May 2020 and says she has suffered flashbacks of saying goodbye to him in hospital since reading the reports.

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Michelle said: “The funeral was horrible because he couldn’t invite all of our family and friends. My dad always told me to make sure I gave him a good send off and we weren't able to do that – It’s ridiculous that everyone has been following the rules except the people that created them.

“My dad was loved by so many, he was outgoing and would speak to anyone so I feel upset that we couldn't give him the send off he deserved.

"He had so many grandchildren but we could only have the eldest to represent everyone because of the restrictions. Boris has got to go, everyone is so angry and he has let so many people down – I’m absolutely fuming.”

A letter from campaign group Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice said it was a “matter of common decency and respect” for the Prime Minister to state if he was present or not.

Her words were echoed by Susie Crozier, who said the latest in a series of allegations about potentially restriction-breaking gatherings has left bereaved families like hers feeling “constantly kicked in the gut.”

The private tutor from Sunderland, whose father Howard Crozier died on March 28 2020 after catching Covid in hospital, said she hopes that, with the latest reported incident, there is “enough public outcry now for Boris Johnson to go, frankly”.

She described her father’s funeral in April that year, attended by two people, as “one of the bleakest experiences I’ve ever had”.

Speaking to the PA news agency, she accused Mr Johnson of “playing us for mugs” by refusing to say whether he attended the gathering along with his now wife Carrie, despite it being widely reported he was there.

She said: “If he hasn’t, you know, the courtesy to resign, someone needs to boot him out.”

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