Heartbreak as Whitley Bay father and son tragically die of Covid within days of each other

A heartbroken woman has spoken of the “horrific” way she tragically lost both her father and her brother to Covid-19 within days of one another.

Elaine Rennie ‘s dad Alistair and brother Mark – both from Whitley Bay – died on April 13 and April 21 respectively. Alistair – who had held senior jobs at Swan Hunter – was 82, while son Mark had MS and was just 47. Alistair had only just recovered from a spell in hospital with bowel issues when it became clear he – and then his son – both had caught Covid-19.

Due to Alistair’s age and Mark’s MS, both were highly vulnerable to the virus. Elaine told Chronicle Live that losing them both – added to previous losses including that of her mum Mary three years ago – was incredibly difficult.

Read more: Bereaved families welcome ruling that Government Covid-19 care home policy was ‘unlawful’ – but ‘it won’t wind the clock back’

She said missing their final moments in hospital had also been heartbreaking – she was out of the room when her dad passed away and unable to get back to the hospital in time to say goodbye to her brother. She said: “[Mark] was in and out of consciousness and I rushed up to see him but I missed his last breath. I was so sad about that. I’m going to do the best I possibly can for them.”

Paying tribute, she said both men had loved art, music and movies – and this will form a key part of their joint funeral which is set to be held at Tynemouth Crematorium at 2.15 on May 17. Elaine said she was planning to sing – she has a long career in music and busking and even was the ITV show Stars in their Eyes as Belinda Carlisle – and she is asking friends and people who knew Alistair and Mark if they will help her to afford the cost of a double funeral to fundraise.

Whitley Bay father and son Alistair and Mark Rennie died of Covid-19 within days of one another
Whitley Bay father and son Alistair and Mark Rennie died of Covid-19 within days of one another

Elaine added: “My brother was very popular on Twitter. He was really into music, he was funny. Both my brother and my dad were. Mark hadn’t been out of bed in ten years but he had so many friends. I’ ve had so many messages from people all over the world. He would share his thoughts on music and movies, and such great sayings. Everyone thought he was great.”

She said that the memory of her family joining her on stage after success on Stars in their Eyes had been a wonderful moment for them all. The family were originally from Paisley in Scotland, but moved to Whitley Bay when Alistair got a job in management at Swan Hunter

“Dad worked at Swan Hunter,” Elaine added. “And then he was a consultant to a fashion company, but he was my brother’s carer until this year when he became more ill. He was happy, kind fair minded and funny. Both of them were really into arts and music and movies. My dad would even make his own DVDs.

Did you know Mark or Alistair? Pay tribute in the comments below

“I was so shocked at how this all happened. I was well-prepared to be caring for them both for years. The funeral needs to be a wonderful send-off and. I want to make sure I do the best for them. It’s such a horrible shock that this has happened, but I’m the only one left now.”

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