Thursday, 28 January 2021

100-year-old given just days to live overcomes coronavirus

100-year-old given just days to live overcomes coronavirus

A CENTENARIAN who was given only hours to live when he contracted coronavirus has fought back and overcome it.

David Beck, who used to run the former Rose and Crown pub in New Street, Henley, is believed to have contracted covid-19 following a visit to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

He was given antibiotics for a urinary tract infection and had only been at the Chilterns Court Care Centre for a week before he was rushed back to the hospital.

He was struggling to breathe, had a high temperature and lost his appetite. He then had a test, which came back positive. His family were told that his condition was getting worse and doctors took him off medication in anticipation that he would not recover.

But five days later, Mr Beck called his children from the hospital and said he was starting to feel better and he was released the next day and returned to Chilterns Court, where he has lived since October. Mr Beck celebrated his 100th birthday on July 5 and about 100 people gathered outside his then house in Belle Vue Road to sing songs.

Mr Beck’s youngest son Clive, who lives in Surrey, said the family were delighted at his recovery.

He said: “Dad had been taken off medication. He was pretty much left to his own devices and it was up to his body to fight it. Every time I got a call from the hospital, I was expecting to hear the bad news that he had slipped away.

“I spoke with him and he didn’t sound too bad but the doctors decided to take his blood pressure. They said it had dropped drastically and it was very serious. They advised me that he had hours to live.

“We were not allowed to see him because he was on the secure covid ward, but we spoke to him on the phone. We wanted to make sure that he was as comfortable as possible. He sounded pretty dreadful but was still hanging on.

“Then all of a sudden, he started to improve. The doctors couldn’t believe what had happened but they were suddenly looking to discharge him.

“His antibodies fought the battle against coronavirus and he won. When I spoke to him on the phone, he sounded much stronger.

“It was unbelievable — we had prepared ourselves for the worst and I had told my two children. We told all the grandchildren that he was slipping away and that we wouldn’t have the chance to see him again and then it all started to turn around.

“He has always been such a strong and determined character and when he started to feel better that was it.

“He is a legend locally and now he is even more of a legend — he has fought and beaten the virus.”

Mr Beck jnr said he was looking forward to visiting his father for half an hour on Christmas Day.

Mr Beck and his twin sister, Dora, originally lived in Hurley with their parents, Lily and Louise, and sisters Amy and Lillian. The family had moved from Cardiff. When David was five they moved to Henley and lived in Northfield End.

Mr Beck left school at 14 and became an apprentice fitter and turner with engineering company Stuart Turner. A year later, the family moved to St Mark’s Road.

A keen boxer, Mr Beck met his future wife Joan through work and they got married in December 1944.

During Second World War, he served in the Home Guard and later in the RAF Medical Corps.

The couple took over as licensees of the former Rose and Crown pub in 1953 and it became the family home for the next 27 years as they brought up their children, Pam, Ken and Clive. After leaving the pub in 1980, the couple moved to Belle Vue Road. Mrs Beck died 17 years ago, aged 78.

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