A GREAT-gran who survived two world wars has become the UK's oldest coronavirus victim after dying from the deadly disease just 24 hours after testing positive.
Hilda Churchill, 108, started showing mild symptoms of the virus on Tuesday and her family hoped she would pull through to celebrate her birthday on April 5.
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But tragically she passed away yesterday at her care home in Salford – less than 24 hours after testing positive for Covid-19.
She is believed to be the oldest British victim of coronavirus, which has so far killed 1,019 people in the UK and infected 17,089.
Her heartbroken family have now paid tribute to the "indestructible" great-grandmother, who they say made the best gravy, mince pies and scones.
Grandson Anthony Churchill said: "She didn't have any severe symptoms and she's battled through things like this before and always survived.
"The most devastating thing is that we were not able to be there with her in her time of need, when she's been with us through all of ours.
"It's heartbreaking for us. Her birthday was just weeks away and we were all so excited.
"She used to say she can't live forever but at times it was starting to feel like she would.
"Not being able to be with her in the last week of her life has just emotionally wrecked me.
"I think we all need to be more careful. She was a fighter, and she was fine, just mild symptoms.
"She was isolated for about a week at a care home where she was safe, but within a day she was gone.
"She was indestructible. If not for Covid she would be alive today – I'm sure of it."
Anthony said Hilda moved to Salford during the depression to find work as a seamstress after surviving the Spanish flu as a child.
But the pandemic, which spread across the world in 1918 killing 50million people, tragically killed Hilda's 12-month-old sister.
Hilda later became a mother-of-four, grandmother of eleven and great grandmother of 14 had recently welcomed great grandchildren into the family.
Anthony said: "I remember all the dinners she would make for us, the Christmas' where everyone would cramp into our small house to eat her food.
"I remember how the house would smell like a bakery when she would make mince pies.
"She was the queen in our family and we've all been left a bit empty.
"But I want people to know Hilda. She never sat down, even as she surpassed 100 she was still fiercely independent.
"She would drop anything in a beat to help others while never asking for help herself."
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Hilda had been in good health until recently and never smoked or drunk much alcohol in her life after staying independent.
She had moved into a care home ten months ago with the family able to see her just over a week ago before it went into lockdown.
Anthony said: "She's the only person I know who had coronavirus, and I think it's until you know someone that you really realise this is real.
"It breaks my heart to think of all the plans we had for when this was all over.
"But we're lucky, at least we have enjoyed everything she had to give to the world for so many years.
"I can't even begin to imagine what it's like for families who lost someone young in all of this.
"We need to all take care of each other and stay safe – because you never know when someone you love is taken away from you in a
blink of an eye."
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