Bert Marsden is pictured playing his trumpet. The date was September 27 this year.

Bert in uniform in 1962 when he was 25 and serving on HMS UlsterBert in uniform in 1962 when he was 25 and serving on HMS Ulster

Less than a month later his devastated family were in mourning after his sad death in Torbay Hospital – another victim of the deadly Covid-19 virus.

Now his widow, Joyce, and her family have decided to speak out to praise hospital staff but to also urge the residents of the Bay to follow safety guidelines to prevent any further deaths.

Joyce says: “I have spoken to my family, one of whom has been working herself in a COVID ward and they said it is important to try to get the message across.

“We all need to take responsibility and follow the rules and it is the only way we will beat this awful virus.”

Bert and Joyce Marsden on holiday in IndiaBert and Joyce Marsden on holiday in India

Joyce sent the Torbay Weekly a picture of her and Bert in India at the Taj Mahal. It was taken on February 4 this year ‘looking, happy, fit and healthy’.

“We had been on a cruise starting in Singapore, Thailand, Goa, Muscat and parts of coastal parts of India ending in Dubai,” said Joyce.

“We then went from Dubai to Abu Dhabi to fly back to India and as the picture shows. We had fantastic tour of India and met some lovely people whilst on this holiday. We were planning to go to another part of India next year but sadly it was not to be.”

Joyce also sent us a picture of Bert in uniform in 1962.

The Torbay Weekly Sean Caunter article that prompted Joyce to tell her storyThe Torbay Weekly Sean Caunter article that prompted Joyce to tell her story

She says: “It was taken when he was 25 years old serving on HMS Ulster He then had shore bases around UK before we went to Singapore for two years with our three children.

“It was there that Bert decided that if he stayed in the Navy he would be at sea all the time as he had signed on for pension. He was by now 30 so had another 10 years to do before he got his pension so he decided to buy himself out of the Navy as being with his family was so very important to him and remained so until the end.

“We then lived in Kuwait for nearly four years as he was the Radar engineer at the Kuwait Airport and I worked at the English School in Kuwait. Another son was born in Kuwait on Christmas Day 1980 completing our family of four children, two sons and two daughters.

“Our oldest child, a daughter, was moving towards leaving the school where I worked to go onto secondary education but there was no English education only American at the time available which meant she would have to go to boarding school back in England. Again, for both of us this was never going to happen so we returned to England.”

The four children all married. The family were ‘blessed’ with seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

She added: “Bert loved jazz and we attended many events locally as well as festivals. He loved music in general. We attended music events locally and at festivals across the country and through music made many friends.

Joyce said: “We enjoyed coming up to 58 years of marriage. We had a good life travelled the world and have made many friends along the way and this has been reflected in the many letters, cards e mails I have received.

“Bert was a very intelligent, compassionate and caring man who always would support or stand up for people less fortunate as he never forgot his own bad start in life as he came from a disadvantaged background.

“His death from this dreadful virus has had a devastating effect on us as a family and also on our large extended family so the impact is vast.”