Covid: Widower describes sadness of raising children without wife who died hours after giving birth

ITV News Correspondent Rupert Evelyn reports on a young family ripped apart by Covid

A husband whose unvaccinated wife died from Covid-19 shortly after she gave birth to her baby daughter has expressed his sadness of not being able to grow old and raise his children with her over the next 40 years.

Samantha Willis, 35, from Derry in Northern Ireland, died last Friday in Altnagelvin Hospital, before she was able to meet or even hold her newborn baby girl Eviegrace.

The mother-of-four was not vaccinated and her grieving husband Josh Willis has told of his heartache in knowing his children's future milestones will not be shared with Samantha, who he described as the love of his life.

'We thought we'd have a good 40 years together,' says Josh Willis

"We thought we would have a good 40 years plus together to share experiences, watch the children grow up, go through school, university, get married have their own children," he told ITV News.

Samantha died with her husband, her mother and her two eldest children by her side.

He urged others to get their vaccine so they do not have to experience the pain he and his family are going through.

"She was caring- she would have gone to the ends of the earth.

"She would have given you the last pennies in her pockets- she would have given you her dinner and starved," Mr Willis said in memory of his late wife.

Josh Willis shared this photo of his wife Samantha after she died with Covid-19. Credit: Facebook/Josh Willis

Samantha had not taken the Covid vaccine as around Christmas- when she was in the early stages of pregnancy- there was little information on its effects, especially in relation to pregnant women, he added.

In July, it was found that 99% of pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid-19 were unvaccinated.

Referring to the pain his children are experiencing, he told ITV News that he could not imagine losing a mother at such a young age and said he wants to do her proud by following the spirit of the positive life she led.

He told his children to "get everything off their chest" when they said their last goodbyes to their mother.

Mr Willis encouraged his older teenage children to share their inner thoughts with their mother during the final moments with her

"'Tell her you love her, tell her whatever you want - no matter how small it sounds,'" he told the children.

Writing about losing his "superhero" wife in a Facebook post, he described Friday as being the "worst day of my life".

"Whilst in hospital she also had to deliver our newest addition to the family who she has never met properly or held in her arms."

"I will make sure that Eviegrace will know all about the mother she will never meet."

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for Samantha's family.

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