A GRIEVING husband whose wife died from coronavirus was horrified when he discovered a keepsake she wore around her neck had been stolen.
Ralph Goodwin’s 86-year-old wife Mavis died last month at Rotherham Hospital, a day after being admitted with breathing difficulties.
He had not seen her for six weeks due to the care home being in lockdown, and just four people were able to attend her funeral due to the ongoing restrictions.
And to make matters even worse, when Mr Goodwin (87) received a sealed envelope from the funeral directors containing her jewellery, he found the distinctive 14ct gold pendant he had bought her while on holiday in Egypt 15 years ago had been pinched.
It was in the form of an oval shaped tablet, or cartouche, with their forenames in hieroglyphic script.
Mr Goodwin said the cartouche was “very important” to him on sentimental grounds.
“She had not taken it off since I bought it for her on a Nile cruise in 2005,” he said.
“It said Ralph on one side and Mavis on the other and the bar across the bottom denoted 'queen'. When we got on the plane home they said: ‘We have the queen on board!’
“It cost about £220 but it’s not the value, it's the sentimentality.
“I was going to wear it until I died and then leave it to my daughter.
“The envelope contained her wedding and engagement rings, plus the cartouche chain minus the cartouche.
“When I saw the cartouche was missing, it was terrible.
“I was saddened that someone could steal the grave goods off an old woman that had been cruelly struck down by this insidious virus.”
Mr Goodwin said he was sure the pendant had been stolen at the hospital, adding: “I am angry and very upset.”
He said he had been in touch with the hospital’s bereavement service to complain and they had said they would investigate. Police are also looking into the theft.
Mr Goodwin, of Goodwin Avenue, Rawmarsh, said his wife had lived at Meadow View nursing home in Kilnhurst for eight years but he would visit her daily and often took her meals.
But he and his children, Tony and Kim, had not seen her since March due to coronavirus restrictions.
“The last time I saw her was on her birthday on March 28 — I sang Happy Birthday and gave her a card but I couldn't even give her a hug,” he said.
“My wife died alone due to us being not allowed access to the hospital and she probably felt abandoned.
“Due to the lockdown restrictions, the funeral was an even more sombre affair than usual, by way of the fact that only four people could attend.
“And our grief has been further compounded by the fact that some heartless thief has stolen my wife's cartouche.”
The couple met in 1953 after being introduced by a friend and were married two years later.
Mr Goodwin said his wife had enjoyed dancing and bingo and made him laugh, adding: “She came out with some right things — she was a good lass.”
South Yorkshire Police said it was investigating the theft of jewellery between April 12 and May 6 and asked anyone with information to contact them quoting crime number 14/73979/20.
Rotherham Hospital’s medial director, Dr Callum Gardner, said: “While we are unable to comment on individual cases, we are aware of Mr Goodwin’s case and we are liaising with South Yorkshire Police on the investigation.
“In the meantime, our thoughts are with Mrs Goodwin’s family during this difficult time.”