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Family of dad from Bapchild, near Sittingbourne, who died from Covid-19, talk about tragic loss in moving documentary

Stuart Charlesworth, from Bapchild, near Sittingbourne, lost his fight to coronavirus at Medway Maritime Hospital on Sunday, April 19.

The 45-year-old - who was not thought to have had any underlying health conditions - had been taken to hospital after having a week-long temperature and spent three weeks in its intensive care unit (ICU).

Stuart Charlesworth lost his fight against Covid-19
Stuart Charlesworth lost his fight against Covid-19

Seven months on his wife Emma, 39, their 10-year-old daughter, Rebekah, and other members of his family and friends have told his story in a heart-wrenching documentary for Hospital Radio Medway.

Emma started it off by telling the story of how she met Stuart - known by many as Charlie - at the age of 15 on the terraces at Sittingbourne Football Club.

The couple, who got together on the date of her 18th birthday party, went on to marry in 2005. Emma said Stuart was “fiercely loyal”, “loved being around people” and “lived life to the full”.

His dad Peter added: “I’m going to be biased. I’m his dad, I thought the world of him. He was an amicable man.”

Stuart, who was the lead singer of The Lost Missiles and Off The Radar, had previously recovered from life-threatening testicular cancer.

Stuart and Emma Charlesworth, pictured with their 10-year-old daughter Rebekah
Stuart and Emma Charlesworth, pictured with their 10-year-old daughter Rebekah

He was diagnosed in March 2001, aged just 26, and had to have surgery and chemotherapy, but, despite the odds, the father-of-one got the all-clear that September.

But the same tragically cannot be said of his battle with Covid-19.

Stuart first noticed a temperature on March 22 - Mother’s Day - but never had a cough. As the week went on he gradually deteriorated.

He lost his appetite and was spending more time in bed so he spoke to 111, but his symptoms were not “severe”.

However, in the early hours of March 30, Stuart had what Emma described as a panic attack, so they dialled 999.

Stuart and Emma Charlesworth, pictured with their 10-year-old daughter Rebekah
Stuart and Emma Charlesworth, pictured with their 10-year-old daughter Rebekah

“He walked down the stairs, he walked to the ambulance,” she said, before he was taken to Medway’s A&E.

Emma added: “I honestly thought I’d ring Medway and they’d say ‘he’s had a panic attack, we’ve sorted him out, you can pick him up’.

“When I made the call at 6.30am, that was when I was told he’d gone to the ICU.”

The hospital allowed Emma and Rebekah to have daily video calls with Stuart, although he was so heavily sedated he could not speak.

Then, one morning, Emma got the news she’d been dreading - that her husband wasn’t going to make it.

Stuart passed away in April
Stuart passed away in April

“I don’t think you’re ever going to be prepared for that call,” she said, “even though he’d been in for three weeks.”

Emma and Rebekah were given as long as they wanted to speak to Stuart via Skype that day.

Fighting back the tears, Emma said she could not thank the staff at the hospital enough for their support.

“I never felt they weren’t trying for him,” she said. “That day they did his hand prints, so we got those. Just to have had that presence of mind when they were so busy as well, was just insane.”

Stuart passed away at 4.30pm.

Emma said Stuart would have been “staggered” by the outpouring of love shown by his friends and family.

“That’s what you always want to be remembered for - the impact you’ve had on people,” she said.

Listen to the documentary in full here.

Read more: All the latest news from Sittingbourne

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