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Saturday, May 1, 2021

Family of eisteddfod journalist raise £8,000 for NHS

* With Kevin’s wife Sally and eldest son Andy Hughes are ICU senior sisters Jayne Galante, left, and Joanne Richards. Picture by Mandy Jones Photography.

The family of a former journalist who covered the Llangollen Eisteddfod and died of Covid-19 have presented a cheque for £8,000 to the hospital which cared for him in his final days.

While in intensive care at Wrexham Maelor Hospital Kevin Hughes, 63, from Gwernymynydd, near Mold, who was also a Flintshire councillor, pleaded passionately with people to stick to the rules to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

But the father-of-three, a former police officer and weekly newspaper editor, died on January 8.

Son Andy – often accompanied by brothers Chris and Steve – raised £7,767 for the unit by walking 5k a day until the funeral.

Andy and his mum, Kevin’s wife, Sally, visited the hospital to hand of the cheque to staff.

He said: “We’re hoping that not many more families will have to go through what we have had to.

“I messaged my dad on December 15 to say that as he was on the mend I was going to do a 5k walk every day to raise money for the hospital until he was fit enough to walk with me.

“Sadly, that never happened but I carried on walking with my brothers until after our dad’s funeral on January 22 – it was to reward the fantastic team at the ICU at the Maelor Hospital.

“We simply can’t thank them enough for the support they gave him. They’ve been fantastic and tried every last thing.”

The cheque was presented to ICU Senior Sisters Jayne Galante and Joanne Richards and Jayne said: “Kevin was very passionate about Covid and was interviewed on TV while he was with us.

“He very much wanted to keep people safe and the need for them to obey the Government guidelines and stay at home.

“It’s a very cruel disease. You think people are improving and suddenly they deteriorate very quickly.

“It has now reduced a lot compared to earlier in the year. It’s calmer on the ward now but still very intense.”

Kevin and Sally were married for over 40 years and had seven grandchildren and she said: “This is part of what Kevin would have wanted us to do.

“The staff at the Maelor Hospital did such a wonderful job and every time I spoke to Kevin he would talk about the fantastic job they were doing.”

Andy intends to carry on fund-raising in memory of his dad who had a remarkable career as police officer, including as a police diver, and after leaving Cheshire Constabulary he worked as head diver at the Blue Planet aquarium at Ellesmere Port.

He then tried his hand at journalism and quickly rose to be editor of the Flintshire Chronicle and then worked as a freelance for Public Relations company Ceidiog Communication and stood as a Flintshire councillor and won the Gwernymynydd and Nercwys Ward.

While with Ceidiog Communication he covered Llangollen Eisteddfod for news outlets across the world.

He was a keen football fan, for his native Chester and latterly as a season ticket holder at Premier League Aston Villa.

The family’s fund-raising efforts are due to continue with the three brothers planning a long-distance walk from Mold to Aston Villa’s Villa Park ground in Birmingham and back.

Andy, who is stand for his father’s seat on Flintshire County Council, added: “We have had messages of support from all over the world, including Hawaii, the USA and Holland and a lovely personal letter from Dean Smith, the Aston Villa manager whose own father died from Covid.

“Dad’s season ticket was close to the dugout so Dean Smith must have heard from him quite often over the last couple of seasons.”

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