Disturbed people from across the country have shared their somber experiences of lockdown funerals – from the same day as No10’s alleged party.
Boris Johnson is facing calls for his resignation after it emerged a senior adviser had invited 100 staff to a party in Downing Street’s garden – at the height of Covid restrictions.
It is alleged that up to 30 people, including the Prime Minister and his wife, attended a Bring Your Own Alcohol event on May 20, 2020 – breaking lockdown rules.
Members of the public from across the UK shared their stories of how they spent the day.
Steve Hynd, 35, and his four siblings had joined forces to say goodbye to their beloved father Mike Hynd, 80.
He had contracted coronavirus at a Gloucester hospital the previous month.
With only five people attending the funeral and Mike’s own brother unable to attend, the family struggled through the farewell.
They say they were devastated by news of the secret Tory summer party.
Steve, Councilor and Deputy Chair of the Stroud Councilor Green Group, said: “He contracted COVID at a hospital in Gloucester.
“They then tried to send him back to the nursing home to die, which we refused.
“He was in there for about a week waiting for the symptoms to set in. I promise you I didn’t ‘take advantage’ of the nice weather.
“Once again I have no words to describe this government.
“My general thoughts are upset and angry that the Prime Minister clearly lied to us and tried to protect himself when he should have been focusing on saving others.
“His claim that he ‘did everything he could’ to save those 150,000 lives is obviously nonsense.”
In a heartbreaking reminiscence of his father’s funeral and final days, Steve described his May 2020 by saying, “At the end of the service there were no hugs, no shared tears, and no sharing of slightly inappropriate anecdotes at the wet wake.”
“Instead, there were only awkward goodbyes and dabs of hand sanitizer as the next coffin rolled in for the next small group of mourners.
“It was a beautiful warm day and I knew that next time I would talk to my siblings via a Zoom call or a shared meme on WhatsApp.
“It felt inappropriate to me, a poor fraction of a funeral for a man bursting at the seams with life.
“Instead of holding his hand these past few weeks, I’ve been counting the hours and days of his life just 20 miles from the hospital where he rested.
“I’m still disproportionately grateful to the palliative care doctor who told me she sat down and held his hand while she discussed steam trains with him.”
Chris Barrett-Hall, 35, is also outraged by the news of the alleged party – after spending May 20 deciding who could go to a family funeral amid lockdown restrictions.
The former nurse was the only relative allowed to be by his grandmother’s side as she died of lung cancer on May 17, 2020.
The ex-NHS worker was also the carer of Deirdre Llewellyn, 76, and was left heartbroken over the death of his “best friend”.
The grieving Chris then had to agonize over the next few days over which family members could attend her funeral.
He had to plan the day alone – and choose who would watch on Zoom – due to the Covid restrictions at the time.
Chris said hearing about the alleged party felt like “a punch in the chest” – as his own father and nephew were forced to watch the funeral through the window from the car park.
He said: “It’s disgusting to hear what Downing Street got away with when some of my family members couldn’t even see them saying goodbye to my grandmother.
“My dad and little nephew weren’t even allowed in because there weren’t enough numbers – they stood outside in the rain and got soaking wet.
“That day I had to choose between my loved ones – who were all desperate to say goodbye to my grandma – and it was the most terrifying task.
“My father would have liked to say goodbye to his mother-in-law and my mother was upset that she didn’t have her husband with her to support him.
“It was awful having to make those decisions when you knew how they would affect people – and I only wish we had two more seats in the service.
“Meanwhile number 10 has been partying and they probably don’t even regret it. When I heard about this party on the news, I smashed a mirror this morning.
“It makes me angry.”