Each person who has died with coronavirus in Wales has their own story.

Each person is missed by family and friends, and each will be remembered by the countless memories and stories shared by those that love them.

So far, nearly 5,500 people in Wales have lost their lives since contracting Covid-19 in the space of 12 months. Young and old, they have all left behind people mourning in the middle of the pandemic.

And when the world slowly starts to open back up again and to resume the new normal, each of those people will no longer be there to share that with us.

On Tuesday, we marked exactly one year since the first reported coronavirus death in Wales. Looking back over the last 365 days we paid tribute to everyone from healthcare workers to care home residents and those that had simply been living their lives before contracting a virus that has stopped everything in its tracks.

In response we received a number of touching and poignant messages in return, each from a person who has lost someone dear to them wanting to share their story.

More than simply a number, these are the people behind the headline figures every day.

Lilian Widlake, 97

Lilo was an avid Cardiff City fan
(Image: Joan Wilson)

Known to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren as Lilo, Lilian Widlake died in hospital on the afternoon of her 97th birthday.

An avid fan of Cardiff City FC, the mother-of-two from Ely would never miss a match on the radio, with even her care home plan arranged to accommodate meals when the big game was on. Her ashes are scattered at the memorial garden at her beloved club’s stadium.

Born and bred in the capital city, Lilo met her husband Vivian during World War Two. The pair married in 1946, with Vivian joking that it was only at the end of the blackout that they could both see each other properly.

In total they were married 39 years, running a string of pubs including the Duke of York in Canton, The Plough in Whitchurch and the first Whitchurch RFC clubhouse. As both a “cheeky madam” and a “wonderful” woman Lilo thrived behind the bar with the rugby boys all pulling her leg.

Mother to both Joan and Carole, Lilo is survived and missed by her two grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and her first-great-great-grandchild.

Paying tribute her daughter Joan said Lilo was adored by staff who cared for her so well at Woodcroft Care Home, despite her “running rings around them”.

After contracting coronavirus Lilo was admitted to hospital on March 26, three days after the first national lockdown, and died on April 5.

Brian Mfula, 51

Brian Mfula was a loving family man as well as a talented teacher
(Image: Mercy Mfula)

In so many ways Brian Mfula was an inspiration to many.

A mental health nursing lecturer at Swansea University, the dad-of-four would help anyone who came to him for advice, offering his time and expertise to countless students wanting to learn.

In the weeks and months after his death in April 2020, Brian’s family were overwhelmed with hundreds of messages of love and support from those that knew him.

Today, nearly a year later, Brian’s wife Mercy says the house feels empty without her husband’s larger-than-life presence.

She said: “We miss him so much but it makes such a difference that he was loved by many and he was loved not just by us. He made a difference wherever he went, he was always going out of his way to help people.

“He would be one of the last ones to leave church. Why? Because there would be a student somewhere who would be asking him options about what’s right and things like that and he would spend his time to explain what needed to be done.

“In the house he was goofy, he was loud and we loved that. He was a Liverpool fan so he would be watching football on his own alone and you’d think there was 10 people there. That’s one of the painful things because the house is quiet, the silence is very loud, you’re always reminded that something is missing.”

Brian and his wife Mercy and children Kato, Nkweto, Thabo and Thandi
(Image: Mercy Mfula)

Originally a physiotherapist, Brian retrained in mental health nursing after moving with his wife from Zambia to Wales in 2002. Far from being content, from there he went into university lecturing at the same time as completing his master’s degree and PhD.

At the same time as being so academically focused he was also a devoted family man to children Kato, Nkweto, Thabo and Thandi, always the fun parent full of important life lessons. Looking back Mercy jokes that every conversation with Brian could become a lecture, while also being full of life.

A member of City Church in Swansea, Brian is also sorely missed by his six sisters.

To remember Brian his family are planning a celebration of life for him when they can, as well as creating a book full of the messages they have received from his students sharing how he inspired, challenged and supported them.

Mercy added: ” He always cared. Whatever student was in front of him they would always feel he had time for that person.”

Brian Elsey, 40

Brian was a former player for Llandaff North RFC
(Image: Sian Clements)

Brian Elsey was only 40 years old when he was admitted to hospital with coronavirus on Christmas Eve.

He died only days later on January 10, leaving behind wife Nadia and Joshua, 10, James, 7, and Jessica, 4.

Known as BopBop thanks to his dancing, the devoted Cardiff dad was a popular former rugby player at Llandaff North RFC as well as a supporter of Manchester United and Cardiff City.

He was always smiling and always happy, his sister Sian said, and liked by all that knew him. At home Brian was a devoted and loving father and close to his siblings Sian, Mark and Laura and parents Lesley and Vincent.

On the day of his funeral members of his rugby team lined the road and clapped as the hearse passed by. A fundraising page in his memory has raised more than £16,000, which will go towards supporting his young family.

Doris Baddick, 96

Doris was a warm and loving mother to her two children
(Image: Dave Baddick)

At 96 years old, Doris Baddick still lived an independent life.

As well as living on her own, the mother-of-two still cooked and took care of herself, even playing bingo on a regular basis at the Bonymaen pensioners club.

To her children Dave and Janis Doris was a warm and loving mother who always worked hard to look after her family.

For them it’s hard to think it is nearly a year since her death on March 25, 2020 at Singleton Hospital in Swansea when the pandemic was just beginning.

Growing up in Swansea, Doris first met her husband Syd when the pair were 15 years old. After marrying in 1946 Doris took on a number of jobs to help keep the money coming in, working in the Addis factory as well as behind the counter local chip shop and later as a school cleaner.

In her retirement she would enjoy pub lunches and bingo with the pensioners’ club, still manning five or six sheets at a time on her last visits, as well as spending time with her four grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the fifth of which was born after Doris’ death.

When her daughter Janis moved to America the pair still spoke every day, with Janis visiting shortly before her mother was taken to hospital. Sadly, she was unable to return to her mother’s funeral due to lockdown restrictions, with the family now planning a memorial when they are able to get together.

Paying tribute, Dave Baddick praised hospital staff for their care of his mother, adding: “She worked all her life, she looked after the family, looked after my father, I can only say good things.

“She was a very strong-willed person as far as health is concerned and the way she wanted to stay in the family home forever and that’s what happened.”

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Clive Elliott, 78

Clive was know as a true gentleman
(Image: Alison Stuart)

Clive Elliott was a man who loved his village of Penrhiwceiber.

Both quiet and unassuming, the dad-of-two was well-liked and well-respected by all that knew him. A life-long employee at AB Electronics, he would be the one colleagues would ask for help and was known by many as a true “gentleman”.

On the day of his funeral, Clive’s family went outside to find residents waiting outside to pay their respects – something his daughter Alison says “speaks volumes” about him.

Born and bred in the valleys, Clive first met his wife Hazel in Penrhiwceiber youth club as a teenager. In total they were married 57 years, becoming parents to Alison and Lynne, grandparents to David and Elise and great-grandparents to Levi, Harlow and baby Everleigh.

As well as being a kind parent and loving husband Clive also enjoyed gardening and the rugby, going down to the legion or down into Cardiff to enjoy the atmosphere on match day.

Clive died on October 29, 2020, aged 78.

Alison said: “Even though he was a good age I just wish we could have had him a couple more years.

“[My mum] misses him, she can’t believe it. It’s like losing your right arm I suppose when you have been together 60 years.

“She says ‘I don’t want me memories, I only want him’.”

Angela Bath, 66

Angela loved to spoil her two grandchildren
(Image: Barbara Beddows)

A retired caretaker at Gower College, Angela Bath was simply “one of life’s characters” who cared for everyone.

Loved and missed by those who knew her, she is remembered as much loved mother, nana, sister, sister-in-law, partner, aunt and a friend to many.

In her free time Angela would love a gossip and her visits to the charity shop. Overcoming the health issues that came her way, she was a caring mother to Ryan and a doting grandmother to Lola and Stanley, making dens and spoiling them rotten whenever they came to visit.

Following Angela’s death on February 3, 2021 aged 66, her family were overwhelmed by the no end of messages, tributes, flower and cards that came from so many from the college. During her funeral people gathered near her home, the caretaker’s cottage, to pay their respects.

As a close-knit family her siblings and partner Jeff are still in shock after Angela fell ill with coronavirus while in hospital.

Her sister Barbara, who also works at the college said, said: “You read tributes and that’s what I’ve done for 12 months and you pray for the people that have lost their family but you don’t know them. When it’s someone you love so much you realise that person isn’t just a number.

“Before lockdown as a family we would see each other regularly but over the last 12 months we’ve got used to not doing that. It’s sometimes like I haven’t seen Angela as I haven’t been in work. Because I am not in college I’m not meeting her, I’m not there. It will be difficult when I go back.”

Andy Treble, 57

Andy Treble with daughter Emily
(Image: Emily Treble)

It has almost been a year since tribute was first paid to Wrexham Maelor Hospital theatre assistant Andy Treble.

A “kind man” who dedicated his life to his profession, the 57-year-old died on April 15, 2020. In a heartfelt statement at the time, his family remembered a man who would always put others before himself and who was well-loved by his colleagues.

Away from his work, his daughter Emily describes her dad as someone who loved comedy, general knowledge quizzes and Coronation Street. A former chef with the military services, Andy was also a Liverpool fan.

At the time of his death, she was invited to the hospital where fire fighters, police and ambulance staff came to help pay tribute, reminding Emily she will “never walk alone”.

Speaking almost a year later, Emily, 18, said: “He was always willing to help someone, always, he always had a massive smile on his face.

“He did retire but he went back part time and took on most shifts when the pandemic started.

“At the time I was busy doing something and I had a message off him saying he was in the hospital. I thought he must mean a shift and tried to ring him and there was no answer. I messaged his sister Linda who rang me to say he was in the hospital with coronavirus.”

Andy often spoke about his daughter to colleagues
(Image: Emily Treble)

Today, Emily is remembering her dad through the interests they shared, including a love of Laurel and Hardy. To mark the anniversary of her dad’s death the teenager plans to get a tattoo in his memory, with a design incorporating the two comedians’ iconic hats.

Joyce Stephens, 81

Joyce with her beloved dog Daisy
(Image: Hannah Myles)

Put simply, 81-year-old Joyce Stephens was a “lover of life”.

Bursting full of energy, the grandmother and great-grandmother would the be one leading the family walk, starting the games with the little ones or building the biggest sandcastle at a day at the beach.

Mother to Lorraine and Martin, Joyce moved to Pontypridd from England and made it her home with her husband Bill.

Sadly, after Joyce contracted coronavirus, Bill and Lorraine also fell ill and were hospitalised. Although both have made a recovery, they are now coming to terms with their loss after Joyce’s death in January 2021.

To her family, the grandmother-of-five and great-grandmother-of-eight will be remembered as a busybody who loved to paint, garden, sing at St Catherine’s Church and play her instruments including the piano and flute.

She would also never be seen without her companion, Daisy the dog.

For those that miss her the last few weeks have been tough, especially being unable to come together and to celebrate the good times and to grieve as one.


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