Leeds army veteran's coronavirus death just weeks after winning cancer battle

An army veteran and voluntary worker from Leeds who had just been given a new lease of life after winning a lung cancer battle has died of coronavirus.

The family of grandfather Colin Barton, 68, of Gledhow, have spoken of their pain at losing him so quickly to the "brutal" illness and have paid tribute to the doctors and nurses who cared for him.

Mr Barton, who had two children and two grandchildren, had undergone chemotherapy and surgery to remove part of his left lung before being given the all-clear from cancer on March 17.

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Mr Barton, who was married to wife Daphne, 69, for 47-years, was fit and well and the couple were looking forward to making holiday plans.

Colin Barton pictured with wife DaphneColin Barton pictured with wife Daphne
Colin Barton pictured with wife Daphne

Mr Barton started suffering coronavirus symptoms on March 27.

He fell at home on Friday April 3 and was taken by ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary, where he tested positive for coronavirus.

His health deteriorated and he was put on a ventilator in a Covid-19 intensive care ward, where he died on April 15.

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Mr Barton's youngest son Paul, 39, of Rawdon, said: "The family were excited when he got the all-clear, it has been a shock to us all.

Colin BartonColin Barton
Colin Barton

"He had done everything he could to prevent this happening. He hadn't been out of the house. He was really cautious about social distancing and washed his hands and the rest of it. We thought he would get through it."

Paul, who works as a teacher at Leeds City College, added: "It is a brutal illness. It is so intense and so intrusive.

"It is a big struggle to go from having someone there all your life to them being taken so abruptly and so aggressively within three weeks.

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"My mum is distraught, but she is grateful for the years she had with him.

"She is full of praise for Leeds General Infirmary. She said they kept her informed about what was happening every day and went above and beyond.

"They were reassuring and comforting and caring all the way through."

Mr Barton joined the army aged 16 and was a corporal in the Royal Mechanical and Electrical Engineers, serving in Germany and Hong Kong.

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He was in the army for ten years and worked for BT as a telecoms engineer for 30 years before retiring aged 58.

Paul Barton said his father was a volunteer at learning disability charity Home Farm Trust in Chapel Allerton.

He played crown green bowls at North Leeds Bowling Club and was also a keen table tennis player.

Paul Barton said:"He was a big family man who was very open, positive and enthusiastic. He was very popular in the community, he was a social butterfly

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"It is overwhelming how many cards and messages of condolence my mum has received, literally hundreds from all over the world."

Paul said his mother has had a lot of support from the congregation at Lidgett Park Methodist Church.

Mr Barton also leaves his mother Elizabeth, 92; son Tim, 41, and grandchildren Ted, aged three and one-year-old James.