A wife of nearly 70 years has told of the “horrible” experience of not being able to be with her husband who died from Covid-19.
But Edith Fleet paid tribute to staff at Hinchingbrooke Hospital for the care they showed to husband Ken, 98, who was a well-known sportsman in the St Neots area, especially as a cyclist who was a member of the local club for many years.
So keen a cyclist was Mr Fleet that he would ride from his home in St Neots to South Wales, where he grew up, to see his family.
Edith, 89, said: “He was taken to the hospital on the Thursday because the paramedics thought he might have a heart problem and then I was unable to see him because of the coronavirus and because I have got family.
“He died from Covid-19 a week before our 70th wedding anniversary. It was horrible not seeing him but the staff were marvellous and I couldn’t fault them. One promised to stay with him.”
Mrs Fleet said: “They were absolutely fantastic and I would like to thank them for everything they did for us.”
She also thanked people from the St Neots area who sent cards after Ken’s death earlier this year.
During his cycling career Ken took regularly part in endurance races, including a 24-hour event where Edith provided him with refreshments as he passed through Wyboston without stopping. He also rode at the velodrome which used to be in Priory Park
Ken was also a keen archer and played table tennis and badminton. The couple, who played petanque at a local pub, also supported the London marathon.
If it had not been for the decline of the mining industry in Wales and the North East the couple would not have met - both their families ended up moving across the country to work at the Land settlement Association in Wyboston.
Mrs Fleet, who came from the Sunderland area, said: “My sister came running in one day and said ‘There’s a man outside who wants to see Edie but he’s got hairy legs’. It turned out to be Ken who was wearing shorts because of the cycling.”
She said the first present Ken bought her was a bike - and then told her she was in a race at Cambridge the next day.
“We always like to keep busy and we always had something to do,” Mrs Fleet said.
Ken, who originally planned to be a teacher, saw military service in both the army and the RAF during the war and spent most of his working life at the Samuel Jones paper mill in Little Paxton.
The couple, who were folk music fans, had three children and continued follow sport on television.