‘Wonderful’ dad-of-two Paul Kempton ‘brightened up’ when he saw little Millie for the first time after her mum feared it would never happen due to Covid restrictions.
The 63-year-old was in and out of hospital for a while due to several health issues including COPD, lung disease and heart problems, but was finally admitted on March 7, when it was discovered he also had Covid.
His daughter Ella had been living in Melbourne with her partner Oliver since before the pandemic and they had Millie while still in lockdown, meaning they hadn’t seen the rest of the family for years.
When they heard how unwell Paul was they had been desperately trying to get to the UK – and eventually managed to get emergency visas – allowing them to arrive on March 9.
Ella, 33, said: ‘We had obviously had Millie in lockdown with neither of our families there but the thought that she would never get to meet her grandad was devastating.’
Former P&O employee Paul had been put on a Covid isolation ward where the rules meant he could have no visitors.
‘I went to see him and I had to go in a garden and speak to him through a window,’ Ella said.
But after a while she became more determined for Millie to meet Paul.
After speaking with the ‘amazing’ ward manager it was arranged that Paul could be wheeled outside the ward in his bed on April 6.
It was there that he met Millie.
Ella said: ‘Despite the fact it was in unusual circumstances it just felt normal for them to finally meet.
‘Dad was really poorly but everyone said he seemed to brighten up and seemed more with it when he saw her.’
Less than a week later Paul, who had also developed pneumonia, died ‘peacefully’ in hospital.
Paul’s wife, Julie, 63, added: ‘It was wonderful that he was able to meet Millie because we weren’t sure if it would happen.
‘The staff went above and beyond for us and I just want to say “thank you” to them for letting it happen.’
Ella and her family have since returned to Australia but it is planned she and Millie will come back for Paul’s funeral on May 6.
It will take place at 11.15am at Portchester Crematorium and is open to anyone who knew Paul.
‘He was a true gentleman,’ Ella said.
‘He was so kind and so wonderful and he loved his whole family.’
Paul also leaves behind another daughter, Lauren, and granddaughter, three-year-old Alice.