Grandmother dies on birthday at West Sussex hospital after Covid-19 battle - 'This virus is not a hoax or a joke so please stay home'

“I heard things on that Covid ward that I never want to hear again. People are dying without their relatives and no one to hold their hand.”

Those were the words of the daughter of one of the people to die at a West Sussex hospital after contracting Covid-19.

Bognor Regis grandmother Diana Lynch died on her 90th birthday at St Richard's Hospital in Chichester last Monday (January 4).

Diana’s two daughters were permitted, under the compassionate visiting policy, to spend time with their mum in her last days.

Diana Lynch died at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester last Monday (January 4) after battling Covid-19.

“Staff in hospitals are broken and no one is listening,” Caroline, one of Diana’s three children, said.

“It’s dire. I just want people out there to take notice. This isn’t just a virus that is killing the elderly. It doesn’t care what your age is.

“There were wards with younger people. The wards are full up. I can’t imagine what the London hospitals must be going through. It’s out of control and people need to stay home.

"People are treating this as some kind of joke or hoax. If they go and spend a night on that Covid ward, they wouldn't be saying that."

Caroline (left) said her mum was well-known in Bognor as the 'lady with the bike'

Caroline said she was ‘so grateful’ to the nurses, who were still taking care of her mum, ‘even though she was deemed end of life’.

She added: “They were lovely. They could have said my mum was old anyway and only had a week left. They didn’t think along those lines.

"They gave my mum as much care as a 25-year-old.

"We were praying she would make it to her 90th birthday and she did. The nurses brought us in doughnuts. We were playing Stevie Wonder for her, and other songs from her era. She went so quietly.”

Caroline said so many people knew grandmother-of-four Diana.

“My mum used to ride around Bognor on her bike until she was 85,” she said. “She spent her last 64 years in Bognor. Her hair was still jet black. She never dyed it.

“She was just a peaceful soul and never asked for a lot. She never complained over there or during her two years in a care home.

"She was born on January 4, 1931 and died on January 4, 2021. The only other person I know of who was born and died on the same day was [William] Shakespeare."

Hospital will get messages to loved ones

People unable to visit loved ones in hospital have been invited to send in messages.

Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said messages can be emailed to [email protected]

Letters can also be posted to St Richard’s Hospital at Spitalfield Lane, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 6SE.

Messages will be printed and laminated for delivery to the wards Monday to Friday.

A hospital trust spokesperson said: “If you don’t have a loved one in hospital, there are many patients in our hospitals who would still love to hear from you. Being in hospital can be an anxious time and the kindness of strangers is greatly appreciated by many.”