Robert Ashton passed away within the same 24 hours as his mother-in-law with coronavirus (Image: Richard Swingler/Media Wales)

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A father and grandmother from the same family died after contracting coronavirus within 24 hours of each other.

Patricia Barnett, 73, was in a nursing home and Robert Ashton, 53, had been admitted to hospital after being diagnosed with cancer.

They both caught coronavirus and later died in April, as cases soared during the pandemic's first wave.

Daughter and granddaughter Emma Ashton has described the pain of losing two loved ones from the virus and the impact on her family, reports Wales Online

Emma said: "Because my nan was in the nursing home we couldn't see her for three weeks before because they'd already locked down, and on April 7 at 7am we'd had a phone call to say we needed to go and see her because she was very critical overnight.

Emma Ashton, with her father on holiday, talks of those horrific two phone calls just hours between each other
(Image: Richard Swingler/Media Wales)

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"And she passed away just before we got to the nursing home at 7.30am. And then that evening we had a phone call from the hospital about dad.

"They said there was nothing more we could do for dad so they allowed my mum to go up and she spent the night with him and he passed the following morning at 4.40am."

In November 2019 Mr Ashton was suffering from a sore back but put it down to his work as a senior lab technician at Cardiff University's chemistry department.

But one Sunday while at home he collapsed at home and was rushed to hospital.

Emma, 28, from Cardiff, said: "They told us it was a secondary tumour wrapped around the middle of his spine, and further scans showed it in his pelvic bones, the bottom and middle of his spine and his ribs.

"He had no other symptoms other than a sore back, so it was a real big shock for us.

Robert's wife Susan lost her husband and her mum and the family have been left devastated
(Image: Richard Swingler/Media Wales)

"So they tried to give him radiotherapy on the Tuesday in Velindre to see if they could release it and give him his life back. But unfortunately, it was too late and it had destroyed his spinal cord.

"So dad was paralysed from his diaphragm down. After a couple of weeks we were waiting for him to go into Home Towers [care home] and then come home.

"But by then Covid was already here so there was a delay. And on the day he was due to go to Home Towers he tested positive on the spinal ward at UHW.

"Then within five days, he passed away. He was in hospital for five weeks and three days. From diagnosis of the stage four cancer to him passing away with Covid."

The sudden deaths within a short space of time left the family having to plan funerals within a week of each other.

Emma said at the time only 10 people were allowed to go, meaning close family members were unable to attend.

The part-time health care assistant and university student said: "It's been so hard, we haven't been able to be around each other. It's just been a real struggle.

"For myself, I've just got my mum and my sister, so support wise we really quite alone. And because of Covid, we had to isolate so we went through the whole experience the three of us."

Emma said her dad and mum, Susan, 49, were married for 27 years.

Paying tribute to her dad, Emma said: "He was known by his smile and his sense of humour.

"He was hardworking and never had a sick day. He was well-respected by his peers."