Royal Marine hero died two days before ‘pathetic’ Boris Johnson’s No 10 party

The family of a former marine and firefighter who died of covid days before Downing Street's 'bring your own booze' party in May 2020 branded Prime Minister Boris Johnson's apology as "pathetic".

Runcorn man Alan Connolly would have turned 89 on Wednesday, January 12, the day of Johnson's apology for attending a party in his back garden, to which 100 people were invited during the first lockdown.

Yet more reports of No 10 parties have emerged this week, including a boozy basement session and a leaving party for future deputy editor of The S*n, James Slack, the evening before the Queen mourned Prince Philip's death.

READ MORE: Popular mum dies suddenly while at home with nine year old daughter

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Former Royal Marine Alan, who served Liverpool as a firefighter for 26 years, kept doing somersaults off swings at 70.

Grandaughter Sophie Connolly feels "loved and safe" when she remembers trips to his cabin in Ribby Hall, Lancashire, or the time he accidentally poured a bottle of beer over himself as he checked the time on his watch for a neighbour at a barbeque.

She said: "He was always very protective. Looking at him, he was six foot two, he was big built, but then he was just a cuddly grandad.

"He loved all the grandkids."

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Alan would stop to talk with neighbours while he walked his dog, he washed his car every week, mowed the grass and made things out of wood in the garage.

It was only in the last couple of years that Alan's age started to show as his memory faded and he took up use of a mobility scooter, Sophie said.

Even then, the family had to stop him from being so active for fear of him falling or having a second heart attack.

Alan Connolly with granddaughter Sophie's son Lincoln

A fall in March 2020 put him into Warrington Hospital where he was diagnosed with Covid-19.

During those six weeks, the family spoke to him over a hospital phone, unsure he'd ever leave.

Sophie was "over the moon" when the hospital discharged her grandad into the care of a nursing home after he tested negative for coronavirus.

Alan Connolly spent 9 years in the Royal Marines before becoming a firefighter

The mum of two said: "I remember crying and thinking, you know, he's fought it, that's great."

But the damage done by the virus to his lungs was too much for his body to overcome.

Alan died in the company of three of his children, in the room two at a time, on May 18, 2020, two days before the boozy garden party at No 10.

On the day of Alan's funeral that June, neighbours lined the street to pay their respects and an airplane flew from Blackpool to Runcorn carrying a banner saying, 'ALAN CONNOLLY MARINE 9430 OUR HERO' and a love heart.

The banner which flew over from Blackpool to Runcorn and then on to Walton Lea, in tribute to Alan

Sophie sat separate from her pregnant sister and her dad, unable to hug the few grieving relatives allowed to attend.

The mum of two said: "We followed the rules to a T. If I'd have known about the party then, none of us would have followed it."

At the time, she was grateful to even be one of the 10 able to attend while many of Alan's nine grandkids and 16 great-grandkids couldn't.

Alan Connolly, 87, (pictured left) who passed away from Covid-19, pictured with his son Paul

She was "fuming" when she found out what was happening on Downing Street while her family and millions like her suffered alone.

Sophie explained: "Not just because of my grandad, like my baby is seven months old now. She was born in June of last year, and you could only have one birthing partner.

"I had a really traumatic birth, ended up having an emergency C-section, and couldn't have my mum there with me.

"She was double vaccinated, she said she'd have a covid test, she wouldn't leave the room. She wasn't asking for a bed or anything.

"She just wanted to be with me and I wanted her to be with me, and she couldn't do that.

"You couldn't have visitors and things like that, and then they're having parties with 100 people [invited]."

Boris Johnson's apology on Wednesday, January 12 added insult to injury for Sophie.

Sophie said: "It's pathetic. He's pathetic. The whole government are.

"I don't think a lot of people are listening to him anymore because he's lost any respect that you may have had at the beginning.

"I would say 'Say sorry', but sorry isn't good enough. No one would accept any sort of apology, because they've not followed the rules."

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