Terrified dad dying of coronavirus told son ‘I’m not ready to go’

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The son of a devoted family man described the moment his dad called to say 'I'm not ready to go" as he was transferred into a coronavirus ward.

Popular "adopted Scouser" David Clark, 57, had survived many health battles related to his Type 1 diabetes over the years, including a kidney transplant, but COVID-19 proved too much and he died in Whiston Hospital on April 9.

Cricket and football fan David moved to Wavertee from Manchester with his son Paul Clark-Wright, daughter Lisa Clark and wife Moira Clark in the early 90s, where he ran the sweet shop The Candy Box on Picton Road.

But he really found his calling later when he joined Arriva as a bus driver, a job he adored.

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Paul, 37, told the ECHO his dad had been feeling under the weather for a few days, but by March 30 he became so breathless he called for an ambulance and was rushed to A&E.

David Clark, 57, who died with coronavirus at Whiston Hospital on April 9, pictured with his wife of 37 years Moira

A couple of days after David arrived in Whiston, he tested positive for the virus and Paul received a harrowing call from his dad.

He said: "One of the memories I have so clearly was that he called me as he was being transferred into a coronavirus ward.

"He said 'son, I'm really scared, I think I have got this virus', he was just petrified. He said 'I'm not ready to go'.

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"I didn't know what to do. I'm on the end of the phone thinking I really don't know what to say. It was like I became the dad and he was the son.

"I said 'no dad, you will be fine, you've fought through the other illnesses.'"

Paul said his dad's health fluctuated over the next couple of days, with David going from being able to sit up in bed to being treated with oxygen.

From left: Moira Clark, 59, Lisa Clark, 36, Paul Clark-Wright, 37 with David Clark, 57, who died with coronavirus at Whiston Hospital on April 9

Paul said the devastating reality of the situation set in during a call with David's doctors.

He said: "On the Tuesday before he died, I spoke to his doctor and he said 'you dad is really not well, the next 48 hours are critical, he just has to fight through them'.

"But he didn't last the 48 hours."

Paul said he had to fight the urge to visit his dad due to strict lockdown rules.

He said: "When I spoke to his doctor it hit me with the reality of how ill he was. I felt like I needed to visit him, I needed to see him.

From left: Moira Clark, 59, Lisa Clark, 36, Paul Clark-Wright, 37 with David Clark, 57, who died with coronavirus at Whiston Hospital on April 9

"But it was weird, on the morning he died I woke up round about 5.30am. As I was reaching to pick up my phone to see what time it was, my mum phoned me.

"As soon as I saw the name come up I knew what it was about."

Paul said his dad loved working and keeping busy, and was devastated when he had to give up driving the buses due to sight problems related to his diabetes medication.

David was given a new lease of life in the early 2000s when he received a donor kidney, an operation that Paul said "transformed his life" after months of gruelling dialysis, even allowing him to play cricket again.

After leaving Arriva, David organised over 50s nights in Old Swan Conservative Club, where many of his former colleagues came for a catch up.

Paul, who came out to his dad as gay, said after an initial shock David embraced his son's lifestyle – with Paul saying he would sometimes walk into famous Liverpool gay pub The Lisbon to find his parents at the bar.

Other happy memories include taking his mum and dad to see the Tina Turner musical in London, as David was an avid Tina Turner fan.

Mum Moira Clark, son Paul Clark-Wright, and his late dad David Clark, 57, who died with coronavirus at Whiston Hospital on April 9

But David's main passion was his family.

Paul said: "Everyone has said this, me and my mum and my sister were his life. Every single thing revolved around what we were doing.

"I work away a lot with my job at Vodafone, and he would always ring me like where are you now? what are you doing? send me pictures of the hotel.

If you have been affected by any of the details mentioned in this story there are people who can help you.

Most people grieve when they lose something or someone important to them.

The way grief affects you depends on lots of things, including what kind of loss you have suffered, your upbringing, your beliefs or religion, your age, your relationships, and your physical and mental health.

Grieving is a totally normal process but there are way to get help if you need support.

Your GP is a good place to start. They can give you advice about other support services, refer you to a counsellor, or prescribe medication if needed.

Or you can contact support organisations directly, such as Cruse Bereavement Care (0808 808 1677) Samaritans (116 123) or Love Jasmine.

"We were the centre of his world. For me, I had made myself a good career and he was always telling people what I was doing; 'our Paul is in Italy'.

"Both me and my sister – I knew we made him proud; there is not anything more you can ask for in your parents than to know they are proud of you."

David's funeral will take place in Springwood Crematorium on May 1, with the number of guests restricted to 10 under lockdown rules.

However his family have created a JustGiving page for anyone wanting to pay their respects, with all donations to be split between the Royal Liverpool Hospital (where David had his kidney transplant) and Whiston Hospital.

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