Grieving Stafford man hits out at Boris Johnson over pandemic

Jacqueline Anne Lyons, 57, was rushed to hospital less than 72 hours after catching Covid-19 from a carer and died six days later.

Jacqueline Anne Lyons
Jacqueline Anne Lyons

A grieving son has blamed his vulnerable mother’s Covid-19 death on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s handling of the pandemic.

Jacqueline Anne Lyons, known to her family as Jackie, was rushed to hospital less than 72 hours after catching Covid from one of her carers, and died six days later on April 2.

From left to right: Jayann williams with her son, Jacqueline Anne Lyons (middle) and John Lyons.
Jacqueline Anne Lyons (middle), known to her family as Jackie, was rushed to hospital less than 72 hours after first testing positive for Covid-19 and died six days later on April 2 (Jayann williams/PA)

The 57-year-old grandmother, from Doxey in Stafford, was classed as “at risk” during the pandemic having suffered from multiple sclerosis (MS) since the age of 28, and had been sheltering at home for more than two years.

The family said news of fines issued to Mr Johnson and others over Downing Street parties had left them feeling “disgusted”, and made their chests “hurt from heartbreak”.

“The care company failed Jackie, but it’s Boris Johnson’s fault for ending self-isolation,” said her son John Lyons.

“He should be made to go and stand in those hospital Covid wards and watch what he has caused.”

Jacqueline Anne Lyons and her son John.
Jacqueline Anne Lyons and her son John (Jayann Williams/PA)

Mr Lyons, 30, and his partner Jayann Williams, 26, took over as full-time carers to limit the number of people entering Ms Lyons’ home, but rehired an external carer in December 2021 as Covid restrictions eased.

“We opened up her care just before Christmas and someone would come in for an hour and a half in the morning to give her a shower and everything,” Ms Williams told PA.

“But then as the restrictions eased and the self-isolation rules changed for anyone with symptoms, we had a carer come over who said they had a cold but that turned out to be Covid, and then Jackie tested positive.

“Her death certificate said she passed away from Covid Pneumonitis and the doctors explained that her lungs had inflamed so much it had crushed her heart… there’s no way that she didn’t suffer.”

The Prime Minister, his wife Carrie Johnson and the Chancellor Rishi Sunak apologised on Tuesday after it was revealed they had been fined by the Metropolitan Police over a party held during lockdown on June 19 2020 to mark Mr Johnson’s 56th birthday.

“We are so disgusted by all the new information that is coming to light and Boris should have no choice but to resign,” Ms Williams said.

“The amount of families, including ourselves, who will never be able to make new memories with our loved ones… yet Boris can just pay a fine and continue with his day?

“It actually makes my chest hurt from the heartbreak we’re dealing with.

“He should never have lifted restrictions around the vulnerable and should have supported independent care companies such as Jackie’s to ensure they had adequate testing available.”

Jacqueline Anne Lyons and her grandchildren.
57-year-old grandmother Jackie was classed as at risk during the pandemic having suffered from multiple sclerosis since the age of 28 (Jayann Williams/PA)

Ms Williams said the family had “dodged Covid for over two years” and spent close to £300 on personal protective equipment (PPE) to give to anyone who needed to enter Jackie’s home during that time.

“The thing that has bothered me more than anything is the thought of: what if we hadn’t opened her home? Would she still be here now?” she said.

“We had dodged Covid for over two years, she was fully vaccinated and we spent so much money on PPE… there was no excuse, yet she still managed to go the way she did.

“We had hand sanitising stations around the house and John used to go over at 7am, before the kids got up, to make sure the house had been bleached and disinfected.

“He would stay out the way while the carers were there and then clean the whole place again when they left.”

Jacqueline Anne Lyons
The family are hoping to give Jackie the send-off she deserves (Jayann Williams/PA)

Due to Ms Lyons’ sudden death, the family have been struggling to afford the costs of her funeral and have set up a fundraising page to give her the “send-off she deserves”.

“You just don’t realise how expensive funerals are until something like this happens,” Ms Williams said.

“Jackie was such a selfless person, I used to ask her, why isn’t she angry at the world? She didn’t deserve this, but she always looked for the positives.

“She wouldn’t want us moping around and crying, we want to give Jackie the send-off she deserves.

“She was such a big party animal back in the day and in the words of Jackie herself: ‘Don’t cry at my funeral – rave.'”

To donate the fundraising page for Ms Lyons funeral, visit: www.gofundme.com/f/jackies-big-send-off

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