THE owner of a Winsford café has lost his courageous battle against coronavirus.

Neil Hawkins, who ran the Humble Pie Coffee Shop with wife Sarah, died on Friday.

The 50-year-old had been fighting Covid-19 in hospital for three months.

Sarah, 44, posted this message on Facebook: “Devastated doesn’t come close but I have been overwhelmed with all the cards, flowers and kind words.

“Neil’s funeral will be on Monday, September 21 so the café will be closed that day. Thanks for your continued support.”

Neil, a former graphic designer for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, fell ill five days after the cafe welcomed customers back early in July whilst extensive Covid-19 safety measures were in place.

Winsford Guardian:

Staff and customers at The Humble Pie Coffee Shop have sent cards, flowers and condolence messages

Sarah, daughter Alicia, 19, and several members of staff also tested positive but all made a good recovery. Their 15-year-old son was the only member of the family who escaped the virus.

The café was immediately closed but re-opened two weeks later after being extensively deep cleaned.

Dad-of-two Neil, who had always been fit and healthy, was put on a ventilator and was initially treated in the intensive care unit at Leighton Hospital.

As his condition deteriorated, he was transferred to a specialist ventilation unit at Wythenshawe Hospital, one of only five centres in the country caring for patients with chronic respiratory failure.

Sadly, despite the best efforts of top respiratory consultants and a multi-disciplinary team, Neil was unable to pull through.

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Sarah, a former teaching assistant at St Nicholas Catholic High School in Northwich, and her family have been inundated with condolence messages, flowers and cards from friends, customers and the local community.

Neil's colleagues at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service have paid tribute.

Cheshire Chief Fire Officer Mark Cashin said: “We are very sorry to hear of Neil’s passing.
"He joined Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2007 as part of our corporate communications team.
"He helped to design many of the innovative and memorable campaign materials we have used to keep the community safe from fire.
"In 2017 he moved over to our joint corporate services before taking over the Humble Pie Café.
“Neil had a quirky sense of humour and energy that endeared him to his colleagues, and this surely served him well at Humble Pie.
“He was devoted to his family and was especially proud of Alisha and Kyle’s swimming achievements.
“Our thoughts are with Sarah, Alisha and Kyle at this sad time.
"He will be sorely missed by his friends at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and Cheshire Constabulary.”