Tributes to town's 88-year-old lockdown singer after Covid battle
- Credit: Rachel Ellis
Tributes have been paid to a town’s 88-year-old singing sensation, who was known for spreading cheer around the community, after he died from coronavirus.
During the first lockdown, Ronald 'Ron' Green, from Nunnery Drive in Thetford, could be heard singing at the top of his lungs during the weekly clap for carers and became a source of happiness for many on his street.
With a larger-than-life personality, Mr Green, who had been in the town for more than 60 years, did all he could to cheer up his family, friends and neighbours during difficult times.
But on Christmas Day, Mr Green and his wife, Sue Green, tested positive for Covid-19 and only days later, on December 28, he was taken to West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, as he fought for his life.
Despite initially recovering from the virus, Mr Green picked up a secondary infection, pneumonia, and his daughter, Rachel Ellis said his body was too weak to fight.
But determined not to let her father die in hospital alone, Mrs Ellis and her family did all they could to bring him home where he would spend the final seven days of his life.
He died on January 22 at home.
She said: “He was just too weak. They tried to fight it again but he didn’t respond well, his body had enough.
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“So, we had a very devastating phone call from the doctor to say that he would be taken off all medication and dad would come to the end of his life naturally.
“But they would only allow one family member to be by the bedside for one hour in full PPE gear. I thought, we can’t have that. He can't die on his own. And somehow, we managed to get him home.
“It has been so emotional. But even from his death bed he made us laugh.
“He was desperately ill and very weak but we spent every moment with him and it was just wonderful.
“It was a real privilege to get dad home and take care of him in that final week. It was the most precious thing.
“Even as he slipped into a coma, we knew he could still hear us and we made him smile even then. He drifted off so peacefully.”
In his earlier life, Mr Green, who was originally born in Enfield, worked for Lamberts Garage and on his lunch breaks he would visit the Homelea Cafe in Thetford centre, where he met his soon-to-be-wife Sue.
After the pair married, Mr Green ran the cafe with Mrs Green throughout the 60s and 70s.
Following this, he also worked as a sales administrator for UCC International and ran the volunteer agency at the Riversdale Centre, alongside his wife, before retiring.
Mr Green was a family man who cherished spending time with his three children Alison Arnold 48, Dave Green 42 and Rachel Ellis 51, and his six grandchildren, Harry Ellis 27, Meggie Ellis 24, Louie Ellis 20, Annabella Ellis, nine, Jack Arnold, 24, and Maisie Arnold, 20.
Now they want him to be remembered as the happy, positive and kind person he was.
Mrs Ellis, who is currently caring for her mum at home with help from her brother and sister, added: “He was full of fun, positivity and optimism, that was dad.
“He was able to make anybody laugh at any time."
The family have thanked Ward F8 at West Suffolk Hospital, the NHS Hospice at Home team, and St Nicholas Hospice care for their support in Mr Green's last few weeks.
His funeral will be held at Risby Crematorium, in Bury St Edmunds on Friday, February 19.
The family will be walking down Nunnery Drive, as Ron makes his last journey at 11am.
A band will also be in attendance as they play his favourite songs.
They have invited friends and residents who wish to pay their respects to line the street, adhering to social distancing rules.
If you wish to donate to St Nicholas Hospice visit the link here, https://ronaldgreen.muchloved.com/