‘Feisty’ grandmother, 73, dies from coronavirus at Hadleigh care home just days before birthday

Margaret Norman has sadly died at the age of 73 at Magdalen House Care Home in Hadleigh, after contracting coronavirus. Pictu...

Margaret Norman has sadly died at the age of 73 at Magdalen House Care Home in Hadleigh, after contracting coronavirus. Picture: BRIDGET SPOONER - Credit: BRIDGET SPOONER

The daughter of a 73-year-old grandmother from Whatfield, who died at a care home in Hadleigh after contracting Covid-19, has told of the “devastating” reality of not being able to kiss or hug her mother goodbye.

Margaret Norman died at Magdalen House care home in Hadleigh after contracting Covid-19. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Margaret Norman died at Magdalen House care home in Hadleigh after contracting Covid-19. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Margaret Norman, who was described by her daughter as a “lioness always protecting her cubs”, was due to celebrate her 74th birthday this Saturday.

She sadly died on Tuesday morning just three weeks after testing positive for coronavirus at Magdalen House Care Home, which has recently suffered an outbreak of the disease.

The mum-of-two and beloved grandmother-of-three has been a resident at the care home since she was diagnosed with dementia three years ago.

The keen knitter and cleaner, who had lived in Hadleigh for the last 45 years, tested positive for the virus on Friday, October 30 following a routine check-up, despite showing no symptoms.


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Her daughter Bridget Spooner, 52, said her mother took a turn for the worse on Friday, November 13, refusing her medication and becoming reluctant to take any fluids or foods.

She fluctuated for a few days and showed promise when she was able to eat for the first time in 11 days, with carers saying she was back to the Margaret they knew again.

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Sadly, her breathing quickly deteriorated last Thursday and her daughter Bridget was given a phone call to say her final goodbye, as she was not allowed to visit the care home in person. She last saw her mother in September.

“The phone call was priceless, as it was the only way I got to say goodbye,” said Bridget. “I could not physically be there to hold her hand, to comfort her, to give her a kiss or to say goodbye, which was devastating. But I told her how much we all love her and that she can go if she needs to.”

Despite having a good few days and beginning to eat again, Margaret passed away in her sleep in the early hours of Tuesday morning, giving some comfort to her family.

“Mum is now at peace,” said Bridget. “I didn’t want her to suffer anymore. When you have dementia you don’t live, you just exist and there is no quality of life. Sadly this is the kindest thing for her, to die peacefully and with her dignity.”

Bridget said Margaret was a “great mum”, who was also a “devoted grandmother” to three grand-children and would have given them everything and anything.

She said: “We are a close-knit family and mum would always have your back, she was like a lioness protecting her cubs.

“She would always say it like it is and she would never take any prisoners, she was a feisty woman. She also loved knitting and would always stop to talk to people in the supermarket, being able to make conversation with anyone. She called the town the ‘Hadleigh hole’.

“Really we lost mum three years ago when she was diagnosed with dementia, as she was no longer the mum we knew and she didn’t recognise us. It was hard to accept she was gone then, but the staff at Magdalen House were so supportive and always turned a negative into a positive. The carers work their socks off.”

Bridget said she has found dealing with her mum’s death more difficult as she has not been able to see her in person, adding that coronavirus is causing “devastation to many families”.

She is angry that the virus has taken her mother away and that she will not be able to get the send-off she deserves, with a funeral limited to just 30 people and not being able to sing a hymn in church.

She said: “I never thought it would be this bad, I don’t think anyone did. But when will this end? People really need to think long and hard about how they can do more.”

Margaret will be buried on December 15 at St Margaret’s Church in Whatfield.

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