The family of a loving great grandmother paid homage after her death from the coronavirus.
Hilda Churchill survived two world wars and Spanish flu but died on Saturday after a brief battle with the virus.
The 108-year-old from Salford had no serious symptoms and her family had hoped that she would pass by to celebrate her 109th birthday on April 5.
But she sadly died at the Kenyon Lodge nursing home in Little Hulton four days after showing signs of the virus for the first time and less than 24 hours after the positive test for Covid-19.
Hilda is believed to be the oldest person in Greater Manchester to have contracted the virus.
His grandson Anthony Churchill says he will miss his large extended family very much.
“He did so much for us,” he says.
“We have always been with her on children’s weekends. He did so much for all the grandchildren.
“She was also a real grandmother. He would always have a pinny and he was cooking. He couldn’t throw the food away. You would never have been hungry.
“He was very loving. He couldn’t do enough for people. “
Originally from Crewe, Hilda moved to Salford with her husband during the depression to find work.
Born in 1911, the ex seamstress was a popular figure among her neighbors and was known for her gentle nature and cooking skills.
“He always talks about neighbors who drop a pinch of salt and other pieces during the war,” says Anthony.
“He would continue to prepare the best homemade gravy I have ever tasted if you leave it near a kitchen.
“And his muffins and mince pies: people lined up on the street to pick them up for Christmas.
“He was very independent. He hated anyone who had to do anything for her. “
In the weeks leading up to his death, Anthony had started talking to his grandmother about the virus.
He was able to offer a perspective on the pandemic that few others could.
He says: “My grandmother likes to talk. As I told her about her coronavirus, she started talking about Spanish flu and remembered how serious it was.
“The whole house came out of it except her mother, who took care of everyone else.
“Unfortunately his little sister, who was only 12 months old, died of it. Grandma said she remembers a small box put in a carriage.
“His father collapsed on the street, but he survived.
“He was saying how extraordinary it is that something you can’t see can be so devastating.”
Anthony, 49, says that Hilda was healthy until recently, she had never smoked or drunk a lot in her life and remained active for decades.
She moved to the nursing home only ten months ago and, until then, had lived alone in her home in Walkden.
The mother of four, the grandmother of eleven years and the great-grandmother of 14 had, in recent years, also welcomed the great-grandchildren in the family.
Anthony says, “My grandmother never understood how she got so old and she would say it. I think it was hard work that kept her going. That and the good geniuses.”
He adds: “He remembered seeing aircraft in the sky and very few cars on the road for the first time.
“He could have written a book about the changes he has seen in his life. It is truly amazing.”
Anthony, of Middleton, says the nursing home closed its doors just over a week ago and last saw his grandmother three days earlier.
“I know many people have it and they probably suffer and their loved ones are dead,” he says.
“It was only confirmed to have it last night.
“They took the test and they said it was positive last night.
“He didn’t have a lot of fever. He wasn’t eating much but he was taking fluids.
“It’s a shock.”