Leyland grandad Peter's family launch fundraising bid to support his last wish to help coronavirus treatment trial
The family of a popular Leyland dad who died from Covid-19 are hoping to raise cash to ensure the drugs trial he took part in continues for others.
Peter Wildish, 75, who was a popular face in the town's working men's clubs, became gravely ill after contracting the virus in hospital while being treated for pneumonia.
But the retired bricklayer insisted he took part in the medical trial, bravely telling his family: "It's the least I can do."
He was able to return home, enjoying a hero’s welcome from his family and neighbours before being reunited with his wife Patricia and beloved dog, Amber.
But tragically he was readmitted to hospital with breathing difficulties less than 48 hours later, tested positive for the illness and died on June 2.
Patricia and their three daughters are determined to stop other families going through their heartache by supporting the vital research he took part in.
They are asking mourners to line the route from their home in Westgate, Leyland to his childhood home on Church Road, via Towngate, from 12pm Wednesday to mark Peter's final journey to his funeral - at a safe distance.
It is the second tragedy to hit the family after his son Daniel, 45, died suddenly in November.
The family are taking some comfort from the thought that the father and son are reunited, but like many others affected by the crisis, they feel robbed of the opportunity for friends and relatives to say goodbye properly.
Daughter Alison Kerwin said: "We were really overwhelmed that he agreed to take part in the trial when he was so ill.
"My mum was concerned as well, in case of side effects, but he was quite clear with her - he felt it was the very least he could do.
"We were touched beyond words that he was willing to risk the side-effects because he wanted to do something that would help protect his grandchildren in the future.
" Dad was a Leyland legend. He was incredibly popular and fondly known as a lovable rogue. Ill-health had quietened him down in recent years but everyone knew Dad as a comic and everyone has a funny story to share. "
Daughter Claire added: "Dad saw too much in the hospital. He saw first-hand how devastating the virus is and watched people die around him. He desperately wanted to spare others from experiencing something so cruel.
"Fundraising for research in Dad’s name is the very least we can do for an incredibly brave man. He was the salt of the earth."
Peter suffered lung condition COPD and had been isolating at his home with wife Patricia before the lockdown came into force,
He fell ill in May and was admitted to hospital, and although he twice tested negative for Covid-19, a CT scan on his lungs showed patterns similar to coronavirus, so doctors took the decision to move him to a Covid-19 ward.
Claire added: “We knew Dad couldn’t have entered the hospital with the virus. Neither he nor our Mum had left the house or had anyone enter for over 12 weeks.
"My Mum diligently disinfected any food products we delivered for her. She was so worried Dad would catch it that we joked she was over the top."
Daughter Rachael said: "We knew Dad couldn’t recover a second time, and our hearts broke when he was readmitted. When doctors confirmed he had tested positive we knew our worst fears had been realised.
“At first we felt angry at the hospital for putting him in a Covid-19 ward but we understand that this virus is new and if Dad looked like a coronavirus patient then they needed to treat him like one.
"“The doctors were amazing and Dad sang the praises of all the staff from Ward 23 at the Royal Preston Hospital who did everything they could for him. He really was in the best hands and we were so grateful for all they did for him."
You can donate to the family's fundraising page at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/pete-wildish