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March 30, 2020

Woman, who survived Spanish Flu, dies of coronavirus

National

March 30, 2020

LONDON: A 108-year-old woman who survived the 1918 Spanish flu is thought to have become the oldest victim of coronavirus in the UK, foreign media reported.

Hilda Churchill died in a Salford care home on Saturday, hours after testing positive for Covid-19 and just eight days before her 109th birthday. She is the oldest victim of the virus to be named in the UK. She was born in 1911, the year before the Titanic sank and three years before the start of the first world war. It was also seven years before the Spanish flu pandemic, which infected 500 million worldwide, and killed her sister. The coronavirus pandemic had prompted Churchill to reminisce about the Spanish flu, according to her grandson, Anthony Churchill.

He said: “When I visited her last, we talked about coronavirus and mentioned we might not see her for a while. She said it was very similar to the Spanish flu but in her day there were no planes and somehow it still managed to spread everywhere.” She and most of her family in their home in Crewe became infected with the Spanish flu, including her father, who collapsed in the street, she recalled.

They all survived apart from her 12-month-old baby sister, Beryl May. “She remembered standing at her bedroom window and seeing this little coffin carrying her baby sister being put into a carriage and being taken away,” her grandson said.