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Coronavirus victim, 108, survived 1918 Spanish flu pandemic

Hilda Churchill Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Hilda Churchill lost her sister to the Spanish Flu pandemic

Tributes have been paid to a 108-year-old woman who lived through the Spanish flu pandemic but has died after contracting coronavirus.

Hilda Churchill died at Kenyon Lodge care home in Salford on Saturday.

She died four days after showing mild symptoms of Covid-19 and a day after testing positive.

Her grandson Will Hadcroft said the "kind-hearted matriarch of the family" was due to celebrate her 109th birthday on Sunday.

He said she would be "greatly missed" and her death had devastated the family, especially when she was "so near to ratcheting up another [birthday]".

Image copyright Anthony Churchill
Image caption Hilda Churchill moved from Crewe to Little Hulton in 1936

Mr Hadcroft, 50, from Edgworth, said his grandmother, who had four children, 11 grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren had certainly "lived her life".

"She moved to Little Hulton in 1936 from Crewe. It was before World War Two and the Salford overspill and it was a quiet little village," he said.

He said the former seamstress would recall seeing aeroplanes for the first time and very few cars on the road.

"Grandma would say when a car drove past in Little Hulton then you knew they must be rich," he added.

Mr Hadcroft said his grandmother had lived through two world wars and the Spanish flu which killed 50 million people in 1918-1920.

The Spanish flu also killed her one-year-old sister, said Mr Hadcroft, who works as a funeral celebrant and writer.

Mr Hadcroft said he would most treasure family days out to Walkden Park in the summer with his grandmother, her cooking and the made-to-measure suits she would make for him.

"She was very industrious, sharp, intelligent and kind-hearted lady... a real character who will be greatly missed," he said.

Abbey Healthcare, which runs Kenyon Lodge, said it was "deeply saddened" at the news of Hilda's death.

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