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Coronavirus Kent: 'Cheeky chappie' ex-Chatham Dockyard coppersmith dies at Medway Maritime Hospital with Covid-19

A 78-year-old man who tragically died from coronavirus was still his "jolly, cheeky self" right up to his final moments. He even winked at his daughter as they spoke on FaceTime.

Raymond Mitchell, from Chatham, was admitted to hospital after he slipped on his kitchen floor at home in Renown Road on Saturday, March 14, an inquest has heard.

Chatham's Raymond Mitchell has passed away aged 78
Chatham's Raymond Mitchell has passed away aged 78

He managed to crawl to the sitting room, where he tried to pick up the phone to call for help, but could not quite reach.

Mr Mitchell's daughter Corinna Nye found him about two hours later and called 111. An ambulance then took Mr Mitchell to Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham.

It was later discovered he had broken his left hip and had surgery that same day.

Unfortunately, Mr Mitchell - who also suffered from heart problems and was "extremely frail" - then developed an infection and was put on IV antibiotics.

Three days later, he started displaying symptoms of Covid-19 and pneumonia. Swab tests were taken and the results came back as positive.

"He gave me a wink while I was talking to him - he was still being his usual, jolly self even though he was very ill"

Mr Mitchell's condition sadly deteriorated as the week progressed until the decision was made to put him on end of life care on Tuesday, March 31. He passed away peacefully the same day.

Born in Chatham, Mr Mitchell lived in the Medway Towns for his whole life. After attending St Michael's Catholic School, he got a job as a coppersmith at Chatham Dockyard - mainly working on submarines. He carried on with his role right up until the dockyard closed in 1984.

His daughter, Ms Nye, said: "He loved it - he used to get to travel to places like Scotland too, repairing more submarines there."

Mr Mitchell then worked as a bus driver and a barman at various former clubhouses. Ms Nye, 49, has fond memories of her dad pulling the pints at Christmas parties at the M&D Club in Pentagon Shopping Centre when she was little.

A dedicated Status Quo fan, Mr Mitchell could be seen bopping in the crowd of the rock band's concerts into his old age. "He may have been the oldest one there, but he still went," said Ms Nye.

She added: "He was a very, very social man - he had hundreds of friends and knew everybody."

Only Fools and Horses was also a firm favourite of Mr Mitchells, so much so he would watch an episode on Gold and then flick over to Gold+ to watch it all over again.

The grandfather of eight and great-grandfather of two was married to his wife, Jennifer, for 55 years. It was their wedding anniversary while Mr Mitchell was in hospital but, due to the current circumstances, Mrs Mitchell was not able to visit her husband to celebrate.

On the day Mr Mitchell died, a nurse set up a FaceTime call so he could speak to his daughter. She said: "He gave me a wink while I was talking to him - he was still being his usual, jolly self even though he was very ill. He was cheeky - he was a cheeky chappie."

She added: "He was a loving man and always put family first."

A little later, Ms Nye got another call from a nurse who asked if she wanted to come down to the hospital to sit by her fathers' side during his final moments.

Although she sadly didn't quite make it in time, she was still able to see her dad and say goodbye.

Ms Nye added how hard it has been not being able to visit her mum since her father passed away, but the saving grace is they are still able to video call.

In conclusion of the inquest, assistant coroner for Mid Kent and Medway Scott Matthewson said although Mr Mitchell may not have fallen ill with coronavirus had he not been in hospital due to the fall, it is impossible to know for sure.

After assessing the witness statements from doctors and Ms Nye, the coroner concluded Mr Mitchell died as a result of natural causes - those being Covid-19 and pneumonia.

For more information on how we can report on inquests, click here

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