Retired police inspector wants to help families celebrate landmark occasions after surviving Covid-19

A retired police inspector who survived a battle with Covid-19 is to launch a new business to help families celebrate when the pandemic is over.

Jeff Baker, 64, was struck down by coronavirus in October. He was taken to hospital by ambulance and put on a ventilator in ICU.

The father-of-two went 10 days without seeing wife Judith, 58, as he battled the disease alone.

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But now Mr Baker, who was working as a funeral celebrant, is back to health and has re-trained to conduct weddings and baby naming ceremonies and is looking to the future.

Jeff Baker

“People need to take this disease seriously but we also need to know we will get through this and that there is something to look forward to on the other side,” he said.

“It does anger me when I see people without masks in the supermarket. It’s just arrogant and ignorant. I’ve been there. I’ve been at death’s door.

“I understand too that people are fed up with lockdown, it’s difficult for everyone, but my experience has made me realise what’s important. It’s family and looking after your loved ones and we all have to start looking forward to things again.”

After leaving the police Jeff became a funeral celebrant. Last year he conducted services under Covid restrictions as families said farewell to loved ones in extreme circumstances.

Jeff Baker wearing the CPAP mask while in hospital

“It was terrible,” he added “At Park Wood Crematorium in Elland they allowed 18 people, in Bradford it was 10. People felt isolated, angry and upset.”

Despite taking all precautions Jeff and Judith both succumbed to Covid.

“For me it was quite severe,” he said. “My temperature was 39-40C and I was blue-lighted to hospital and I was in ICU at Bradford Royal Infirmary in a CPAP mask.

“As I went off in an ambulance that was the last my wife saw of me for 10 days. I just remember having the CPAP mask on and the noise it made. If it wasn’t for the NHS I wouldn’t be here.”

Mr Baker has two grandchildren aged 11 and eight and runs his own company, Circle of Love, from his home near Queensbury.

Now he’s trained to conduct weddings and naming ceremonies he wants to help families plan celebrations. He’s got a couple of weddings in the pipeline but said plans remain fluid.

“We need something to look forward to again,” he added.