Tributes have been paid to a mother of 13 who died from the coronavirus as fresh data showed England has witnessed its highest death rate in over a decade due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sonia Partridge, 35, died at the University Hospital of North Tees in the early hours of Tuesday morning, leaving her partner, Kerry Ann Partridge, without “the backbone of our family” and “my life for the last 11 years”.
Together the couple shared 13 children. One, Meera Jo, 16, saw her mother in hospital before she died and said “there’s never going to be enough words” to pay tribute to her.
Now the family have started a fundraiser to pay for Sonia’s funeral and also help them find a new home after they were served with an eviction notice.
Kerry Ann, 40, who is studying to be a midwife at university, said Sonia Partridge “loved everyone with a passion” and that looking after the youngest 11 of their children without her would be “so hard”.
Speaking from their family home in Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, Kerry Ann said: “I just walk into a room and expect to see her and she’s not there.
“I’m watching the younger children running around like nothing has changed, and it’s very hard to accept she’s never going to see them grow up.”
She added: “It’s left a massive hole in all our lives. It’s hard telling the little ones she’s gone away with the angels and she’s not coming home.
“No matter how hard things were for her, she always put everyone else first, and now she’s gone. We just feel numb, and other times we are just crying and can’t stop crying. And when we laugh now, it feels wrong because she’s not here to laugh with us.”
Kerry Ann said she, Meera and the other children, the youngest of whom is two years old, were coping with their loss by “doing the things that would make Sonia feel better”.
She said: “We’re doing the housework and getting the Christmas decorations out. Sonia loved Christmas, it was her favourite time of year. She put so much magic into everything she did.
“She was the homemaker, the foundation of our home. She did all the running around looking after the young ones, making sure the laundry was done, and being here for the kids when they wanted to hug her. We just want people to know how amazing she was.”
England witnessed its highest death rate in over a decade in the year to end October as a result of the Covid pandemic, according to data released by the Office for National Statistics.
The monthly bulletin on deaths, which are adjusted to account for changes in age and population over time, show that there were 1,026.7 deaths per 100,000 people, significantly higher than in all years between 2009 and 2019.
The equivalent figure for Wales was 1,076.1 deaths per 100,000 people which, while higher than the first 10 months of 2019, was not significantly different from in 2018.
The data shows that, in the vast majority of cases where coronavirus was mentioned on a person’s death certificate, Covid-19 was also the primary cause of death: 91.8% in England and 88.9% in Wales.
Covid-19 was the underlying cause of death in 11.1% of all deaths that occurred in England (50,012 deaths) and 9.1% of in Wales (2,629 deaths) – the third most common cause of death in both countries after dementia and Alzheimer’s (which are grouped together) and heart disease.