'I'll keep doing it' - Woman plays bagpipes outside home for Covid victims

Susan Gothard playing the bagpipes every Thursday in memory of her father-in-law, Brian Gothard, at her home in Hingham.

Susan Gothard playing the bagpipes every Thursday in memory of her father-in-law, Brian Gothard, at her home in Hingham. - Credit: Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

A bagpiper who plays in memory of her father-in-law who died from coronavirus has vowed not to stop.

Former headteacher and trained musician Susan Gothard, 63, from Hardingham Road in Hingham, near Wymondham, performs a tune outside her home every Thursday evening, which she said was appreciated by residents.

Her father-in-law, Brian Gothard, 86, from Wymondham, died on April 23 last year at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

He tested positive for Covid-19 on April 13 at Norwich Community Hospital while recovering from a successful operation on his broken femur.

She started the musical ritual during the weekly Clap for Our Carers Thursday night event, which took place across the UK, from March until May last year.

And since Mr Gothard's death, she has carried out 45 performances in front of an illuminated yellow heart and dressed in a top featuring yellow hearts to remember coronavirus victims.

She said: "I'll keep doing it. If it gives joy, peace and remembrance to people, that has got to be a good thing. There are very few good things happening at the moment."

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To offer support to families of coronavirus victims she plays tunes which meant something to loved ones killed by the virus, suggested through the Yellow hearts to remember Covid 19 Facebook group. The videos are then shared on the social media platform.

Brian Gothard, from Wymondham, who died aged 86 on April 23, 2020, from coronavirus.

Brian Gothard, from Wymondham, who died aged 86 on April 23, 2020, from coronavirus. - Credit: Debbie Gothard

Paying tribute to her father-in-law, Mrs Gothard, who married Mr Gothard's daughter Debbie in 2016, called the Yorkshireman a "gentle giant".

The Edinburgh-born musician said: "He was a wonderful person with a massive sense of humour and lovely warm character. He accepted me into the family with no problem at all.

"I like fixing things and we would go into his shed, sit down and talk. He would always hold your hand. His death was dreadful because of the way he died."

The keen golfer, sports fan and indoor bowls player left behind his wife, Patricia, whom he was married to for nearly 62 years.

Susan Gothard playing the bagpipes every Thursday in memory of her father-in-law, Brian Gothard, at her home in Hingham...

Susan Gothard playing the bagpipes every Thursday in memory of her father-in-law, Brian Gothard, at her home in Hingham, pictured with her wife, Debbie. - Credit: Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mrs Gothard, who entered into civil partnership with Debbie in 2006, said the family had to hear him die over the phone.

"It is the most awful way to die. People need to stay at home to protect everyone and the NHS. Coronavirus is frightening."