A WREXHAM family who lost their dad to Covid have organised a fundraiser in his memory to help other families keep in touch with loved ones who are in hospital.

Victor Jones from Rhostyllen died in December last year at the age of 74, having spent ten days in intensive care at Wrexham Maelor Hospital with Covid-19.

The Leader: Victor Jones, whose family have set up a fundraiser for Wrexham Maelor Hospital in his memory.Victor Jones, whose family have set up a fundraiser for Wrexham Maelor Hospital in his memory.

His heartbroken family, including his daughter Tracey Langford, who also lives in Rhostyllen, said that they struggled to keep in touch with Victor while he was in intensive care due to Covid restrictions and the poor signal on his mobile phone.

They now want to help ensure that other families with loved ones in intensive care or critical care at Wrexham Maelor in future are able to stay in touch more easily through the purchase of some cordless phones and an outside telephone line.

Victor was a keen charity fundraiser for various causes including Nightingale House Hospice and a charity trip to Africa involving his granddaughter Leanne Langford when she was a teenager.

Wrexham Maelor Hospital is close to the family's hearts for another reason too, as Leanne went on to become a nurse and she now who works on the orthopaedic ward. She also worked on Covid wards for 16 months during the pandemic.

Victor was a keen bowls player, playing alongside his brothers David and Tony several times a week at The Bersham Club and so his family thought it apt to combine his passions by organising a charity bowls tournament there on August 15.

The event, which has already raised £400, will involve 32 experienced bowlers and 32 novice bowlers.

Victor's daughter Tracey said she had been in touch with the ward sister where her dad had been treated and they were supportive of the fundraising plans.

The Leader: Wrexham Maelor HospitalWrexham Maelor Hospital

Fantastic staff

She said: "Dad got taken into hospital at the end of November and the hardest thing was not being able to speak to him. We didn't have any contact with him.

"My dad had a mobile phone but the signal was very poor. He was really poorly so he couldn't respond to text messages.

"My older brother Mark couldn't go to see him at all at the hospital because he's got leukaemia. It's hard - very hard.

"Our worst fear is going back into a third wave of Covid. I was thinking that there's going to be so many families who are also not going to be able to speak to their loved ones while they are in hospital.

"It was hard for us but I can't imagine what my dad was going through. I always spoke to my dad or texted him every day and he hated being stuck indoors. He loved to go out and socialise.

"I know the staff were fantastic with him but it's not the same as seeing or speaking to his family and friends."

Tribute paid

She paid tribute to her dad, saying: "Dad was so bubbly. He was always up to something and he was a popular character in the village.

"He had a brilliant sense of humour and people used to call him Victor Meldrew because he did silly things.

"He loved his bowls and loved to share his passion for it with others. He was forever raising money for charity, including sponsored walks and we decided we needed to give something back to the hospital that looked after him and hopefully carry this on every year for different charities.

"We are trying to raise as much as we can for the hospital. Staff at the hospital couldn't do enough for us. We'd like to thank every one of them.

"I know the pressures they are under because my daughter works in the hospital as well."

Difficult time

Tracey added that the bowls event would be a fitting memorial for her dad, as the family weren't able to hold a wake due to the pandemic.

She said that her dad was born in Rhostyllen and had lived there all of his life, with the undertaker at his funeral in the village commenting that he had never seen anything like it when many lined the streets to pay their final respects.

Tracey said: "As a family we have been through so much. It's been a difficult time as it has been for everyone.

"It was quite sad really as I know the church would have been packed for his funeral, looking at the amount of people on the roadside paying their respects.

"We didn't have a wake either due to the pandemic so 30 people went to dad's funeral and then we all went home so this will be the first time the family have all got together.

"It's going to be an emotional day."

Kate Sinclair, Senior Staff Nurse on the Critical Care Unit at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, said: "We would like to thank the family for thinking of our patients, and supporting the unit, we are really grateful.

"During these difficult times we are unable to allow families into the ward, but we know how valuable it is for our patients to speak with their family whilst in hospital.

"This will make a huge positive difference to our patients, as well as loved ones at home."

The bowls fundraising event is due to be attended by Victor's brothers, sisters, brother-in-law Paul Langford, along with his children Tracey Langford, Mark and Victor Jones, and his seven grandchildren, including Tracey's son Joe, 21, and daughter Leanne, 27, and his two great grandchildren.

A special memorial bowl prize in Victor Jones's memory has been obtained specially for the tournament, with plans afoot to hold a charity event in his memory every year from now on.

Food has also been donated by local businesses Bicks Chicks and Wayne Walker Quality Meats. There will also be an auction, with items donated including a Clogau gold bracelet from Waltons in Wrexham.

To make a donation, you can visit the fundraising page at https://gofund.me/8e002201