Pendle grandmother (86) defies the odds to recover from coronavirus

The family of a brave 86-year-old Brierfield pensioner are in a celebratory mood after the great grandmother defied the odds by successfully beating a bout of COVID-19.

A great example of hope and encouragement, Vera Watson is back at home having spent six months in either hospitals or Belvedere Care Home Colne, after she initially suffered a fractured spine and then tested positive for the coronavirus.

Her daughter, Vicki Watson, recalled the moment she discovered her mother had been diagnosed with the deadly virus. She said: "It’s not every Monday morning that you get a phone call from your mum’s GP informing you she has tested positive for COVID-19. There’s no easy way to explain this to your 86-year-old mum who during the worst pandemic in my lifetime, was temporarily in a care home recuperating with a fractured spine following a fall on holiday in November. Your mind thinks the worst and everyone you tell offers you their sympathy and shakes their head. However, last Monday, having made a good recovery she returned home to her home in Brierfield, which had been decorated with yellow ribbons to celebrate her return."

Vera, mother to Paul, Kathy and Vicki has overcome many challenges in her life and remained determined to return home even though she had spent around six months since December in either hospital or Belvedere Care Home, Speaking about her recovery, she said: "At times I found it hard when I was not well, but the one thing that kept me focused was my memories. "My family gave me a black book and on each page they asked a question like ‘What was it like growing up in the war?’ and this encouraged me to jot down things I could remember and every evening my daughter would phone me and we would chat through a chapter of my life so she could write it down as part of my story. Memories are a great source of comfort and healing and now I am home I am planning to continue to tell my story."

Vera Watson in her garden last year with her three children

Vera, who has lived all her life in Pendle and has five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, worked in the offices at Haighton’s Foundry, Victory V, Smith and Nephews and William Reed before she retired as PA to Chief Superintendent at Burnley Police Station in 1998. She has continued to do voluntary work by either reading the children at Whitefield Primary School as well as knitting shawls to raise money for the hospice.

Vicki added: ‘My mum has sheer determination – and when she puts her mind to it, she knows she can achieve her goals. Initially when the fracture in her spine was diagnosed, there was a feeling that she might not walk again or return to her home. The support she has received from NHS Teams, Adult Care and the great team at Belvedere Manor has helped mum on her road to recovery. In addition, she has received tremendous encouragement from family, friends especially those from her local church, Burnley and Nelson United Reformed Church.’

She went on to say: "It's early days for mum being home and we hope her recovery continues to go well."