A WINSFORD resident who has been helping others throughout the pandemic has opened his heart about the devastating consequences of coronavirus after his mum died.

Martin Blondel, who won The Telegraph's Lockdown Community Hero Award in May, is the general manager of the Steve Prescott Foundation – a charity launched in memory of the former St Helens rugby player who battled a rare cancer called pseudomyxoma peritonei.

Martin has been active in trying to help the St Helens community since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 as part of his work with the foundation.

However, devastation has now hit his own family after his 75-year-old mum Val Blondel died in Whiston Hospital after contracting the illness.

In a powerful statement, Martin, described his mum as the most wonderful, 'caring woman you could ever meet'.

He also discussed the unimaginable pain of not being able to say farewell to her in hospital because he had also tested positive for Covid.

Martin wrote: "I feel the need to explain the circumstances and highlight to the minority (thankfully) that Covid is real, it is not some kind of FAKE NEWS, it is not a bit worse than flu.

"Sadly I look on Facebook and other social media, and friends, acquaintances are still taking this far too lightly and quite a few are still going down the conspiracy theory route.

Winsford Guardian: Steve Prescott pictured with Martin Blondel, the secretary of the ex-rugby league player's charitable foundation.

Martin Blondel with Steve Prescott - the pair built the foundation prior to Steve's death in 2013

"I am going to open up my heart, I am going to tell you the HELL my brother Mark Blondel and I have been through and hopefully it will make at least one of you realise that you have to stop spreading the ridiculous conspiracy theories and importantly think about your actions and how they could have a catastrophic effects on your family and scar you for life.

"I look on here [Facebook] and still see people not obeying the meet up with ONE person from another household for exercise, I still see the clamour for businesses to open even though this would inevitably cause more deaths/cases and I understand the financial implications is dire for those concerned but how much of a price can you put on a loved one's head?

"No amount of money will bring them back once they have gone."

He added: "My mum started off being poorly a week last Tuesday with a 'cold' she was so stubborn and insisted it was nothing.

"Over a period of a few days it was going worse, I told her to go for a Covid test and no way would she.

"My brother Mark lived with her, I talked him into going for a Covid test on the Saturday morning but unfortunately things happened and it was messed up.

"I have been careful and not left my house as much but drove over to Earlestown from Winsford to see why the test had not been done properly, I was with Mark over two metres apart (outside) for no more than 10 seconds. I drove back home to Winsford.

"On the Sunday Morning, Mark went for a walk-in test and was positive. I then went for a test and to my amazement I was also tested positive.

"I really honestly do not know how I could have caught Covid from elsewhere. It shows that it only takes a second to find its target.

"With Mark, my mum and I all positive I decided to stay at my mum's and look after her as much as possible.

"Whilst I was having my test, we called for an ambulance and they told my brother that my mum would be better off staying at home and not going to hospital, her stats were borderline OK.

"Over the next few days my brother's symptoms worsened and I was looking after them both.

"I thought I [had] tested positive for a reason to look after them, I showed no symptoms whatsoever."

Martin explained that his mum's condition deteriorated swiftly.

He added: "My mum was poorly and going worse, in hindsight I should have called for an ambulance earlier than Friday morning, I wish I had now but the words of the ambulance man and the daily news were telling me it had to be the last resort.

"My mum was took in on Friday morning and it soon became evident she was in the right place, the staff at Whiston where phenomenal; god do I wish I had got her in sooner.

"My brother's condition improved and is back to normal, I still show no signs.

"Over the weekend my mum showed improvement, she was comfortable, on the Saturday she called me off her mobile and then her sister Bernie Nicholson.

"We all was really optimistic, my mum even said she was positive she would get through this.

"Sunday morning I phoned the Ward at 8am and the nurse told me how wonderful my mum was and it was a pleasure to look after her.

"She had a comfortable night and was in good spirits.

"At 10.20 I received a call to say she has had a stroke, a bleed to the brain and they were going to take her for a CT Scan.

"Unfortunately this never happened. My mum's condition deteriorated rapidly.

"I then received a phone call to say that my Mum was going on End of Life care. I couldn’t believe how quick this had happened.

"Because Mark and I are still isolating and are still classed as positive they would not allow us to see our Mum on her last day.

"We could not say goodbye to our beautiful caring Mum, the best Mum anybody could ever wish for.

"I had the BEST mum, only my brother could share this title and we could not see her in her last few hours.

"Thankfully my mum's sisters and brother were allowed, I am so glad this was allowed and my mum passed away in the arms of loved ones – but I am now struggling and all I can think about is that I never had the opportunity to say goodbye to the most precious thing that looked after me all my life."

He added: "Mark and I are still getting punished, we can’t go out of the house until Thursday, we can’t put arrangements in place.

"I cannot hold my beautiful wife Karen Blondel when I need the biggest hug in the world.

"I cannot console my loving daughter Sarah Blondel who her Nan was so rightly proud of.

"I am normally a private person when it comes to emotion and only put things on Facebook for the benefit of the SPF.

"I have decided to share this post to make the numpties realise the consequences of their actions.

"Please Stop Please Think, I don’t want anyone else’s family going through this hell.

Winsford Guardian:

"This picture was of my beautiful Mum, peaceful in her last few hours, I don’t want anyone to be in the same position of a picture as the only sign of comfort from their loved ones last day."