Stevenage widow’s ‘stop being selfish’ plea after husband’s coronavirus death

PUBLISHED: 09:04 16 August 2020

Robert Hewitt died in May after contracting coronavirus. Picture: Courtesy of Rita Hewitt

Robert Hewitt died in May after contracting coronavirus. Picture: Courtesy of Rita Hewitt

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With reports of packed beaches and pubs, and increasing concern the UK is heading for a second wave of COVID-19, the heartbroken widow of a man who died after contracting coronavirus is urging people not to be selfish and to “think of others first”.

Rita and Robert celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year. Picture: Courtesy of Rita HewittRita and Robert celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year. Picture: Courtesy of Rita Hewitt

Robert Hewitt lived his entire life in Stevenage and first met his soulmate Rita on a blind date in 1967. The pair married two years later and went on to have five children, and later eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Married for 51 years, Rita now faces life without Robert, following his death in May.

She explained: “In 2005, he contracted E coli, which left him diabetic and at the start of renal failure.

“Over the last 15 years he had numerous stays in hospital with sepsis and other medical issues.

Rita and Robert celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year. Picture: Courtesy of Rita HewittRita and Robert celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year. Picture: Courtesy of Rita Hewitt

“He was pulled back from the brink of death so many times we began to think he was indestructible. The doctors and nurses had worked miracles to bring him back.”

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Robert was having dialysis three times a week, but more recently his health had been getting worse.

On April 25, he was segregated for dialysis due to a high temperature, and two days later it was confirmed he had COVID-19.

Robert was admitted into hospital but died on May 5, aged 72. Rita said: “The impact on our family is devastation. We all miss him terribly. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, we feel sure he would still be with us.”

She continued: “I feel people don’t understand this virus unless it has affected them personally. There are even people who deny its existence. I hope the yellow heart movement can help educate.”

A yellow heart – often displayed in the windows of homes – is a symbol now used to signify the loss of a loved one to COVID-19.

Rita said: “I feel particularly sorry for families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 who were otherwise healthy.

“I also worry about a second wave because of it spreading within families, and because the people who crowd onto beaches and into clubs and pubs don’t realise the danger they are 
putting themselves and everyone else in.

“The main message I want to get across to people is that they should think of others first and not be selfish.”


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