A "FIT AND HEALTHY" OAP who could cycle 60 miles a day and a 71-year-old barber have become two of the latest victims of coronavirus.
Keen cyclist Paul Ramsden, 80, became the first patient to die of the virus at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Friday.
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Meanwhile, George Mason, a barber who cut hair in the same shop with his twin brother for the last 52 years, has also died from Covid-19.
After coming down with what appeared to be the flu, 71-year-old grandfather George, from Gosport, Hants, was admitted to hospital and put on a ventilator, but died later.
Family and friends have lined up to pay tribute to the two men as Britain's virus death roll continues to rise.
So far, 1,829 people have died in the UK after contracting the disease, with 25,150 people testing positive.
'HE WAS VERY FIT'
Great grandfather Paul was still out on his bike just weeks before he took ill and had hoped to reach his 100th birthday.
He often cycled 50 or 60 miles, had a garage full of his bikes and was a regular at his local gym near where he lived in Lytham St Annes, Lancs.
Jacky, 63, his wife of 40 years said his death was unexpected as he had no underlying health conditions.
She said: "If the sun was shining, he wanted to be out on his bike. He was very fit even though he was 80.
"His cardiovascular system must have been really good to have been able to cycle how he did.
"And he didn't cycle slowly. He was one of these men in lycra."
Jacky knew something was wrong when she couldn't wake Paul up on March 22 shortly after they returned from a holiday in the Canary Islands.
He was taken to hospital in an ambulance and sadly died of coronavirus five days later on 27 March.
Jacky said it came as a "huge shock" because of his active lifestyle.
She said: "It was very surreal because I never got to see him in the hospital.
It's a bizarre situation and of course no one can come and give me a hug either
"It's a bizarre situation and of course no one can come and give me a hug either."
Now Jacky is urging people to stay inside as the virus could affect everyone, not just the vulnerable.
She said: "Paul was fit and healthy even though he was 80. I just want to help people – to tell them to stay in and keep safe."
Jacky thanked the "brave and compassionate" NHS workers who cared for her husband as he got sicker.
She said: "They looked after him and they also supported me, although it could only be by telephone because I wasn't allowed in.
"I can't thank them enough."
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Barber George Mason was placed on a ventilator over the weekend but sadly never recovered, despite not having any underlying symptoms.
He and his twin brother Malcolm trained at the old Husband’s barbershop in Gosport as teenagers, before opening Mason’s Barber Shop nearby together at the age of 19.
Malcolm said: "We were far too young and it was tough in the early days, but we made it work by sticking together.
He walked into the ambulance by himself and everything. But he told me he wouldn’t wish it on his worst enemy.
"We’ve worked together our whole lives – I can’t believe he’s gone. In the early days we did everything together, like going out to play squash."
According to Malcolm, the virus caused his brother to deteriorate quite quickly.
He said: "He walked into the ambulance by himself and everything. But he told me he wouldn’t wish it on his worst enemy.
"He was just a great bloke. George was good fun – we had our moments like all brothers do, but got along brilliantly. He was a real family man and cared deeply about those around him."
Meanwhile, A 92-year-old grandmother was today celebrating a remarkable recovery from coronavirus after being admitted to hospital a week ago – and said she can't wait to get out and treat herself to a cream cake.
Her family said Helen, who has lived through World War Two and eight recessions has 'knocked it out of the park' and is 'made of strong stuff.'
She had been in isolation for the last week at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital after testing positive for Covid-19 and pneumonia.
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