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‘We had to watch the funeral from the side of the road’: Ruth Newman, died aged 74, of Covid-19

A Welsh homemaker, she was admitted to hospital for a heart bypass and may have caught the virus there

Ruth Newman had a lot of heartbreak in her life, but also a lot of happiness. The happiness: she married her husband, Adrian, a process worker, in 1966 – it would have been their 54th wedding anniversary this October. The heartbreak: their daughter, Rachel, died of a brain tumour when she was three. After Rachel died, they had a son, Gary, now 42. “She was very protective of me,” says Gary, a university admin worker. “Because of Rachel. She’d tell me to wrap up constantly. She was always worried about me, even when I was an adult.”

Ruth liked to bake jam buns or Victoria sponges. She would do the weekly shop with Adrian and then have lunch in the cafe at Morrisons. They ate out twice a week, at the local Harvester or a pub. She read murder mysteries and romance novels. An odd quirk: Ruth hated the colour green and would not allow anything green in the house, except for plants. “She thought it was unlucky,” says Gary. “She’d had a green car and it had caused her no end of bother.” The house was full of ornaments of cats. “She was cat mad,” observes Gary, drily. “I’m looking at a cat ornament right now.” (He has been shielding with his father since March – both men have underlying health issues.)

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