Unvaccinated mother-of-four, 35, who died from Covid is laid to rest – Daily Mail

The funeral of an unvaccinated carer who died with Covid after contracting the virus while heavily pregnant has taken place in the same church where she married her husband – while the baby girl to whom she gave birth but tragically never held was baptised during the same service.

Mother-of-four Samantha Willis, 35, was laid to rest during an emotional service at Derry’s St Columb’s Church after passing away in Altnagelvin Hospital, Northern Ireland on Friday, having fought the virus for 16 days. Her daughter Eviegrace was born just two weeks earlier. 

Samantha’s husband Josh Willis, who runs a firm supplying signed sports, TV, film and music memorabilia, has been urging people who have not received their Covid jab to get inoculated against the virus as he described losing the ‘love of his life’ in heartbreaking posts. 

The funeral and baptism took place in the same church where Samantha wed Josh two years earlier.  Father Sean O’Donnell, who led the service at St Columb’s Church this morning, said that this is the first time he has ever conducted a baptism at the same service as a funeral. 

He remarked it is rare but ‘speaks about death and life all interwoven’, adding: ‘It is sadness and joy all at the same time, but never brought together as close as this. And the joy of baptism of this new life doesn’t minimise death, but rather the sadness that brings us here all in the context of faith.’ 

Members of the Derry City Under-17 squad performed a guard of honour as her coffin was carried into the church. Among those to attend the funeral was the former priest and policing board member Denis Bradley. 

On Twitter, Josh had warned: ‘I spent hrs in ICU on Thur/Friday with my wife who passed away. It’s real, the numbers are real. Get your vaccine so you or your family don’t have to go through what I have had to. As I write this I am laying beside her, she is 35, unvaccinated and in a coffin. Let that sink in!’ 

He described Samantha as his ‘queen’, while family called her a ‘wonderful, loving and caring person’. 

Samantha is missed by Josh, her four children Shéa, Holly, Lilyanna and Eviegrace, her parents and extended family. A GoFundMe page set up to help Samantha’s family has already raised more than £4,100. Those who wish to make a donation can do so here.

In July, ‘concerned’ researchers at Oxford University found that 99 per cent of pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid were unvaccinated. They said one in 10 pregnant women admitted to hospital with symptoms of the virus often required intensive care. 

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said Covid vaccines do not contain ingredients known to be harmful to pregnant women or developing babies. 

Husband Josh with his newborn daughter Eviegrace, being carried by a relative after the coffin of Samantha Willis from Strathfoyle is taken from St Columb's Church following her funeral

Husband Josh with his newborn daughter Eviegrace, being carried by a relative after the coffin of Samantha Willis from Strathfoyle is taken from St Columb's Church following her funeral

Husband Josh with his newborn daughter Eviegrace, being carried by a relative after the coffin of Samantha Willis from Strathfoyle is taken from St Columb’s Church following her funeral

Eviegrace (pictured) was baptised during the same service in St Columb's Church, Londonderry, that saw the funeral of her mother Samantha

Eviegrace (pictured) was baptised during the same service in St Columb's Church, Londonderry, that saw the funeral of her mother Samantha

Eviegrace (pictured) was baptised during the same service in St Columb’s Church, Londonderry, that saw the funeral of her mother Samantha

The daughter of Samantha Willis, Lilyanna, is carried into St Columb's Church, Londonderry, behind the coffin for the funeral for the mother-of-four from Strathfoyle

The daughter of Samantha Willis, Lilyanna, is carried into St Columb's Church, Londonderry, behind the coffin for the funeral for the mother-of-four from Strathfoyle

The daughter of Samantha Willis, Lilyanna, is carried into St Columb’s Church, Londonderry, behind the coffin for the funeral for the mother-of-four from Strathfoyle

The coffin of Samantha Willis from Strathfoyle is taken from St Columb's Church, Londonderry, after her funeral. The mother-of-four died with Covid on Friday after giving birth

The coffin of Samantha Willis from Strathfoyle is taken from St Columb's Church, Londonderry, after her funeral. The mother-of-four died with Covid on Friday after giving birth

The coffin of Samantha Willis from Strathfoyle is taken from St Columb’s Church, Londonderry, after her funeral. The mother-of-four died with Covid on Friday after giving birth

The coffin of Samantha Willis is taken from St Columb's Church, Londonderry, after her funeral

The coffin of Samantha Willis is taken from St Columb's Church, Londonderry, after her funeral

The coffin of Samantha Willis is taken from St Columb’s Church, Londonderry, after her funeral

In a post on the GoFundMe page, organiser Sara McCaul wrote: ‘Samantha developed Covid-19 while heavily pregnant. Tragically, after giving birth to her beautiful baby daughter she passed away two weeks later. 

‘She was only 35 years old and had no underlying health conditions. Family and friends have been left devastated by her sudden passing at what should be a joyous occasion to celebrate. Anyone who knew Samantha would agree she had a heart of gold. 

‘She was always looking out for other people and was much loved in her role as a carer. She leaves behind her husband Josh, son Shea and daughters Holly, Lilyanna, and little Evie-Grace. She will be sorely missed by her family and many friends. So many of us are feeling helpless at the moment and hopefully, this page will help Josh and the children in the tough times ahead.’ 

Mother-of-four Samantha Willis, from Derry in Northern Ireland, passed away on Friday in Altnagelvin Hospital after giving birth to her daughter Eviegrace, her husband Josh Willis said

Mother-of-four Samantha Willis, from Derry in Northern Ireland, passed away on Friday in Altnagelvin Hospital after giving birth to her daughter Eviegrace, her husband Josh Willis said

Mother-of-four Samantha Willis, from Derry in Northern Ireland, passed away on Friday in Altnagelvin Hospital after giving birth to her daughter Eviegrace, her husband Josh Willis said

The hearse carrying the coffin of Samantha Willis to St Columb's Church, Londonderry, for the funeral for mother-of-four from Strathfoyle who died with Covid on Friday after giving birth

The hearse carrying the coffin of Samantha Willis to St Columb's Church, Londonderry, for the funeral for mother-of-four from Strathfoyle who died with Covid on Friday after giving birth

The hearse carrying the coffin of Samantha Willis to St Columb’s Church, Londonderry, for the funeral for mother-of-four from Strathfoyle who died with Covid on Friday after giving birth 

The coffin of Samantha Willis from Strathfoyle is taken from St Columb's Church, Londonderry, after her funeral

The coffin of Samantha Willis from Strathfoyle is taken from St Columb's Church, Londonderry, after her funeral

The coffin of Samantha Willis from Strathfoyle is taken from St Columb’s Church, Londonderry, after her funeral

The coffin of Samantha Willis from Strathfoyle is taken from St Columb's Church, Londonderry, after her funeral

The coffin of Samantha Willis from Strathfoyle is taken from St Columb's Church, Londonderry, after her funeral

The coffin of Samantha Willis from Strathfoyle is taken from St Columb’s Church, Londonderry, after her funeral

A grieving husband is urging people to get vaccinated against Covid after revealing that his 35-year-old pregnant wife died with the virus without ever meeting her baby girl after giving birth to her

A grieving husband is urging people to get vaccinated against Covid after revealing that his 35-year-old pregnant wife died with the virus without ever meeting her baby girl after giving birth to her

A grieving husband is urging people to get vaccinated against Covid after revealing that his 35-year-old pregnant wife died with the virus without ever meeting her baby girl after giving birth to her

On Twitter, Josh urged unvaccinated Britons to get inoculated against Covid, warning: 'As I write this I am laying beside her, she is 35, unvaccinated and in a coffin. Let that sink in!'

On Twitter, Josh urged unvaccinated Britons to get inoculated against Covid, warning: 'As I write this I am laying beside her, she is 35, unvaccinated and in a coffin. Let that sink in!'

On Twitter, Josh urged unvaccinated Britons to get inoculated against Covid, warning: ‘As I write this I am laying beside her, she is 35, unvaccinated and in a coffin. Let that sink in!’

Pregnant women are urged to get a jab: Just one in ten are vaccinated as hospitalisations surge among unjabbed mothers-to-be

Pregnant women have been urged to get jabbed as new data shows just one in ten have come forward.

Health chiefs said rates of Covid hospitalisations are rising rapidly among unvaccinated mothers-to-be.

New Public Health England data shows that so far 51,724 pregnant women in England have received at least one dose, and 20,648 women have had two.

Around 600,000 women in the UK are pregnant, meaning less than ten per cent have been jabbed.

Since April, pregnant women have been eligible for the vaccine at the same time as the rest of their age group.

But uptake remains low and health chiefs are concerned about rising admissions for Covid-19 among pregnant women. Some 95 per cent of the pregnant women in hospital with Covid-19 last week were unvaccinated.

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Josh wrote on Facebook last week: ‘Today has been the worst day of my life. I have lost the love of my life Samantha to Covid-19. Samantha had put up a strong fight for the last 16 days. 

‘Myself, her mother and two eldest children were by her side. She was in no pain and was comfortable when she slipped away.

‘Whilst in hospital she also had to deliver our newest addition to the family who she has never met properly or held in her arms. I will make sure that Evie Grace will know all about the mother she will never meet.

‘I will never let anyone forget you and I will remember all the special times and experiences we shared together. The children are now my main priority. 

‘All I want to do now is make Samantha proud. I’m sure she’s already looking down and proud of how we are coping.

‘We are also proud of her, she was a wonderful, loving and caring person and she has been our super hero the last few weeks. She is now our guardian angel and she will remain in our hearts and thoughts for ever more.

‘We love you loads and miss you. We wish we could only have helped you get home to live the rest of your life with us. I will never stop loving you and we will do our best to make you proud until we see you again. Sleep tight my Queen. Love you.’

Josh added: ‘Thanks to all the staff at Altnagelvin Hospital who met Samantha on her journey. You are all truly wonderful people and I will never forget what you have done for Samantha and our family.’   

Thousands of condolences and tributes were paid under Josh’s statement, with one saying: ‘This has made my heart stop for a second. Sending every single person love.’ 

Another said: ‘There are no words that can express the profound sadness of this.’ A third wrote: ‘So so sad, absolutely heartbreaking and devastating for all the family. A beautiful lady taken too soon, RIP. 

‘My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.’   

The number of pregnant women getting a Covid vaccination has risen by a fifth in recent weeks. It follows a concerted effort by health officials to reassure expectant mothers about the safety of getting a jab. 

A floral tribute outside St Columb's Church, Londonderry for Samantha Willis

A floral tribute outside St Columb's Church, Londonderry for Samantha Willis

A floral tribute outside St Columb’s Church, Londonderry for Samantha Willis

Floral tributes left outside St Columb's Church, Londonderry for Samantha Willis

Floral tributes left outside St Columb's Church, Londonderry for Samantha Willis

Floral tributes left outside St Columb’s Church, Londonderry for Samantha Willis

In an emotional Facebook post, her husband said Samantha had contracted Covid while pregnant and had put up a 'strong fight' in hospital before eventually succumbing to the virus

In an emotional Facebook post, her husband said Samantha had contracted Covid while pregnant and had put up a 'strong fight' in hospital before eventually succumbing to the virus

In an emotional Facebook post, her husband said Samantha had contracted Covid while pregnant and had put up a ‘strong fight’ in hospital before eventually succumbing to the virus

The number of pregnant women getting a Covid vaccination has risen by a fifth in recent weeks. It follows a concerted effort by health officials to reassure expectant mothers about the safety of getting a jab

The number of pregnant women getting a Covid vaccination has risen by a fifth in recent weeks. It follows a concerted effort by health officials to reassure expectant mothers about the safety of getting a jab

The number of pregnant women getting a Covid vaccination has risen by a fifth in recent weeks. It follows a concerted effort by health officials to reassure expectant mothers about the safety of getting a jab

A total of 62,311 women, who reported they were pregnant or could be pregnant at the time of receiving the vaccine, had come forward and received their first dose by the end of July, Public Health England said.

The number is up by 10,587 from July 18, when data released for the first time suggested only around one in 10 pregnant women might have had a first dose. PHE said that, of the latest total figure, 43,737 pregnant women had received their second dose. 

Separate research last month revealed the vast majority of pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid are unvaccinated and there has been a drive to encourage more to get a jab, with England’s chief midwife writing to GPs and fellow midwives to spread the message.

Research by a team at St George’s, University of London, published this month, showed similar birth outcomes between those who have had a Covid vaccine and those who have not.

Experts said pregnant women should feel reassured by the paper, which concluded there were no statistically significant differences in the data, with no increase in stillbirths or premature births, no abnormalities with development, and no evidence of babies being smaller or bigger.

A study is continuing to determine the best gap between coronavirus vaccine doses for pregnant women.

Researchers are aiming to recruit more than 600 pregnant women for the trial, which will monitor the vaccine’s effectiveness and follow the development of children up to one year old.

In the UK, pregnant women are offered the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where available, as officials say there is more safety data on these jabs in pregnancy.

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Unvaccinated mother-of-four, 35, who died from Covid is laid to rest – Daily Mail

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