'Coronavirus doesn't just rob you of a loved one - it robs you of saying goodbye', say grieving Leeds family

Tributes have been paid to an ex-Navy merchant from Yorkshire who died from coronavirus, as his granddaughter spoke of the cruelty of the disease.

Retired Navy merchant Clifford Healey, from Leeds, who passed away from coronavirus. Picture courtesy of the Healey family

Great-grandfather Clifford Healey, 88, passed away at Leeds General Infirmary after being admitted two day earlier,

The retired cab driver who had also travelled the world while serving in the Navy had developed a fever and although was initially stable, deteriorated rapidly in hospital and sadly passed away on Wednesday.

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Widower Mr Healey had been an evacuee during the Second World War, his granddaughter Jenna Tate told The Yorkshire Post, and was well-known for his wealth of interesting stories.

Clifford Healey with great-grandchildren. Picture courtesy of the Healey family

Ms Tate said: "He was a typical Yorkshireman. He always had a pipe in his mouth and always had a flat cap on.

"He was evacuated into the countryside as a child in the War, then later he was in the Navy and travelled all over the world. He always had an interesting story to tell, such as the time he was in New Zealand and ended up joining in with a big cricket match.

"He was extremely intelligent. In fact, I would go so far as to say he was probably the most intelligent person I've ever met in my life. He was always pushing you to do well, but in a good way.

"One thing he loved was being with his great-grandchildren, they were incredibly important to him. His eyes would just light up whenever they were around."

Clifford Healey as a child with parents Isabelle and Norman Healey. Mr Healey was an evacuee during the Second World War. Pictures courtesy of the Healey family.

Mr Healey lived in the Meanwood area of Leeds for most of his life before later moving to sheltered accommodation in Headingley.

Ms Tate added: "Up until the last year of his life he made sure to look after everybody in that building he lived in. He had such a positive impact on so many people."

Ms Tate also spoke of the heartbreak of not being able to say proper goodbyes to her grandfather.

"My mum got a phone call on the Monday to say he had been taken to hospital," she added.

Clifford Healey on his wedding day to late-wife Sheila. Pictures courtesy of the Healey family.

"The next day he was stable but then he deteriorated very quickly. My mum got a phone call the next day to say he had died.

"It doesn't just rob you of a loved one, it robs you of an opportunity to say goodbye."