Reverend Richard Coles makes emotional radio tribute to sister-in-law

Reverend Richard Coles makes emotional radio tribute to sister-in-law who died from coronavirus weeks after being diagnosed with cancer and invokes the Queen’s ‘we will meet again’ message

  • Reverend Richard Coles pays tribute to sister-in-law Louise on BBC Radio Four
  • Retired teacher and councillor Louise, 58, died in hospital this week of Covid-19
  • She had previously been diagnosed with cancer and was receiving treatment 
  • He also warned the public there is ‘nothing more dangerous than complacency’
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Reverend Richard Coles today invoked the Queen’s ‘we will meet again’ message as he read out a touching tribute to his sister-in-law after her death from coronavirus.

The musician and ex-Strictly Come Dancing star emphasised the strength of love and the importance of social distancing as he spoke openly about the tragic death of Louise Coles, who was married to his brother Andy.

The former teacher and Conservative councillor at Peterborough City Council, 58, died in hospital on Wednesday after contracting Covid-19.

She had been receiving treatment for cancer after being diagnosed earlier this year, Reverend Coles told BBC Radio Four.

In a special piece for the Today programme he said: ‘She (Louise) felt unwell over Christmas, a doggedly persistent winter cold she thought, but it was cancer.

Reverend Richard Coles today invoked the Queen’s ‘we will meet again’ message as he read out a touching tribute to his sister-in-law Louise Coles after her death from coronavirus

Reverend Coles ended his touching tribute to sister-in-law Louise on Radio Four today with the words ‘we’ll meet again’. The Queen ended her address to the nation last month with the same quote, echoing the words of a Vera Lynn wartime song

‘So aggressive was her treatment it left her unprotected. In spite of the most meticulous efforts to shield her from the virus, it breached her defences.’

He continued: ‘Louise and Andy had planned how this would go. They knew once she was admitted they could not be together but they were inseparable having found in one another the unequalled compliment a lifetime search that viruses can’t touch.

‘Love is as strong as death and cannot be quenched.

In an emotional finish, which mirrored the Queen’s address to the nation last month,  he added: ‘We’ll meet again.’

Earlier in the piece, Reverend Coles had explained how Louise had retired from her role of head of sixth form at a school which she had taught French at for 17 years.

He said the mother-of-one had previously lived in Egypt and had returned to Britain and was, until recently, was volunteering for the Red Cross as an Arabic speaker helping Syrian Refugees to settle in the UK.

Reverend Coles referenced tributes from former pupils on Twitter, as well as from those she had helped during her volunteering.

During the piece, he also urged the public to continue to observe the government’s social distancing rules.

He added: ‘There is nothing more dangerous than complacency.’

Earlier this week, Reverend Coles posted a picture on social media of Louise with his late partner Reverend David Coles, who tragically passed away four months ago during an operation for internal bleeding as a result of an underlying health condition.   

Reverend Coles had previously tweeted a picture of Louise with his partner David, who died in December

Louise was the wife of Reverand Cole’s brother Andy, who replied to his tribute tweet earlier this week 

He wrote: ‘My lovely sister in law @lozaamandine died this afternoon with COVID19.

 ‘She made lots of people very happy, not least @RevDavidColes , with whom she went on extravagant and unauthorised expeditions to her beloved North Africa. RIP, darling woman.’ 

Richard’s older brother and Louise’s husband, Andy, also a Conservative councillor for Fletton and Woodston, paid tribute on his own account.

He added in a statement posted to LinkedIn that Louise had just finished a course of radiotherapy for a brain tumour and he was shocked she had caught COVID-19 due to their careful isolating during the pandemic.

Sharing a photo of the two of them together, he tweeted: ‘I am very sorry to have to report the death of my wife Louise this afternoon.

‘She had been unwell for some time with cancer, but caught coronavirus even while shielding. Thankfully we had time to prepare, but this was too soon.’  

He added in a statement posted to LinkedIn: ‘I’m sorry to say my beloved wife Louise died yesterday in a coronavirus ward at Peterborough City Hospital.

‘She has just completed a course of radiotherapy on a brain tumour and we were hoping to have more time together.

‘But two days after admission with breathing problems she was gone. Thank you to the amazing NHS staff on ward B12 for doing all they could to treat her.

‘We had been shielding so carefully it was a shock to learn that the virus had infected her – who knows how, but possibly during our last trip to hospital for radiotherapy. I’m still symptomless but imagine I’m going to be unwell soon. 

‘This virus is so easy to catch and it is so difficult to know when you get exposed. If you know of someone who has an underlying condition, please be aware that they are so vulnerable and make allowances.’  

In December, Richard announced that his partner David had passed away aged 42 having been ‘ill for a while’.

Richard, who appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2017, entered into a civil partnership with David after the Church of England allowed it in 2005

His death had been unexpected and he died from an operation for internal bleeding as a result of an underlying health condition. He never returned home after being rushed to hospital.

Richard, who appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2017, entered into a civil partnership with David after the Church of England allowed it in 2005 – but they were celibate.

The couple lived together with their dogs Daisy, Pongo, Audrey and Horatio in the vicarage of St Mary’s in Finedon, Northamptonshire.

In his previous life Richard had been the instrumentalist half of the Eighties pop duo The Communards with Jimmy Sommerville, who had a Number One single Don’t Leave Me This Way, and a number of other hits which made him millions.

 

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