Published: 14:00, 06 February 2021
| Updated: 15:13, 06 February 2021
A sound engineer who "would do anything for anyone" died just weeks after his younger sister lost her life to Covid-19.
Alf Whisker, from Gravesend, was admitted to hospital just before Christmas after developing double pneumonia and coronavirus.
The 74-year-old died of multiple organ failure on January 10 – only seven weeks after the pandemic claimed the life of his sister, Rita Cruttenden from Rochester.
Mr Whisker had worked as a park keeper at Waller Park in Darenth for 13 years, but was also an experienced sound engineer having learnt his trade at two shops in Gravesend – A J Hill Electronics and later Bennett and Brown.
The motorcycle enthusiast was working on events at the Lydden Hill race circuit near Canterbury as recently as December, providing technical support and running the venue's public address system.
His elder sister Vie Millard says her family's tragic story shows just how serious the pandemic is.
"The last time I saw him was at my sister's funeral a fortnight before Christmas; he was in hospital a week later," she said.
"It has been really tough – I am the last one standing and I just want people to understand they are not immortal and it can happen to them.
"Neither my sister or my brother had any idea how they contracted the virus, so it just shows it can happen to anybody. You have to be so careful."
Mrs Millard says her brother – who raced sidecars in the 1980s – "always had a passion for taking things apart".
Before starting at Waller Park, where he lived in a flat on the site, Mr Whisker ran his own radio and TV repair shop in Perry Street, Northfleet.
"As televisions became unrepairable, he got more into the audio side of things," Mrs Millard remembers.
"He built amplifiers for musicians and groups and was very well-respected in the music industry – he was a very clever guy.
"Whatever he wanted to build electronically, he would just do it.
"When he was just 11 or 12, he built a crystal set so we could talk to each other in our bedrooms."
For the last seven years, Mr Whisker had worked with the Stacey's Smiles charity – a good cause set up following the death of nine-year-old Stacey Mowle in 2015.
He ran the public address system at its outdoor events, but Mrs Millard, who lives near Colchester in Essex, says she is only just finding out about her brother's charity work.
"He would do anything for anybody – since he has passed, I have learnt so much about what he did that I had no idea about," she said.
"He was very modest and had a heart of gold.
"What you saw was what you got with him; it didn't matter where he was or what company he was in, he was just always himself."
Mr Whisker was chairman of the Gravesend Eagles Motorcycle Club, which has described him as a "great ambassador for the club and an all-round nice man".
Mrs Millard added: "He was the loveliest person – he was my favourite brother, although he was my only one!
"He was a big man with a big heart and a big mouth when necessary because he wouldn't mind saying it how it was.
"And if he thought there was injustice, he would try and put it right."
Mrs Millard says she hopes people will "understand they are not immortal and it can happen to them".
"So many people just don't take the virus seriously and they have obviously no idea of just what it can do to themselves and their families," she said.
"I am the last one in our family – there's nobody else left now – and three months ago I couldn't have made it up that suddenly my brother and sister would be gone and I would be left on my own.
"And this is all due to this dreadful, brutal virus. The vaccination will obviously help now, but it is still going to be months until we can be really safe."
In a tribute posted online, Lydden Hill bosses described Mr Whisker as a "much-loved" member of the team.
"Alf played an integral part in making the revival of the Lord of Lydden and Sidecar Burn-Up event possible with his knowledge, contacts and passion for all things motorsport and Lydden," they said.
"Alf was our support for all things technical at the circuit.
"He was a loyal, kind, legendary gentleman who would offer help to anyone in need and will be sorely missed but never forgotten."
Mr Whisker's funeral will be held at midday on Thursday (February 11) at Thames View Crematorium in Gravesend.
At 11.10am, a group of motorcyclists will meet at Waller Park before riding together to the crematorium for midday.
Places at the service are restricted due to the lockdown, but if you wish to make a contribution to the Stacey's Smiles charity, click here