A 102-year-old who worked with Winston Churchill had only hours to live after contracting Covid-19, but was in bed days later with a “bowl of Weetabix” in bed.
The fearsome Catherine Grace, who worked with the war minister in a mysterious government role, was hospitalized in April with the deadly disease.
Last Monday (May 4), doctors told her distraught family to “expect the worst.”
Her niece, Marie Nebard, 63, couldn’t believe it when a hospital worker called her two days later and said Mrs. Grace had made a “miraculous recovery.”
Emotional images taken on Tuesday (May 5) show that the OAP, affectionately known as Aunt Kitt, is being driven out of the hospital for compelling applause from frontline workers.
Kitt has now returned to her nursing home in Wakefield, West Yorks, where staff hosted a welcome party. Her family will be able to distance themselves in the coming days.
Mother of four said to Marie: “At some point we were told that Aunt Kitt would not make it through the night and that she might not be alive for another two hours.
“The thought of her dying like that was unimaginable, but then I received a call that she had made a miracle recovery and I couldn’t believe what I heard.”
She added, “Me and the family are all so happy that Aunt Kitt is healthy again, she’s the most amazingly resilient woman and the backbone of us all.”
Originally from Essex, Kitt became a widower in the 1950s when her WWII RAF veteran Alec died of cancer. She never remarried or had children.
Marie said her cousin dedicated “her life” to working in a very secretive government role, the details of which she never revealed to anyone, not even her family.
Marie said, “We know that Aunt Kitt worked for the government on South Bank in London, but when we ask more she says she can’t say anything because she signed the Official Secrets Act.
“During her war, she met Winston Churchill several times through her job and said he was a very nice man, although she didn’t like the smell of his cigars.”
After her retirement, Kitt remained “very independent” and very active. She took dance classes three times a week until she was 99 years old.
Sadly, a broken hip has kept her from dancing, but Kitt still visits Marie’s local market once a week with Marie.
The centenarian was affected by the coronavirus two weeks ago and rushed to a specialist ward at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.
Marie said, “The doctors said she gave in and probably wouldn’t survive the night.
“Going that way seemed so cruel that none of us could be by her side, and because of the closure, she wouldn’t even have a proper funeral.”
Marie is not allowed to visit the hospital in person, says goodbye to her cousin during a video call, and says that despite the situation, Kitt still gives her a big smile.
When the phone rang the next morning, Marie was sure it would be a nurse who would bring the sad news of Kitt’s death.
She said, “I was expecting to hear that Aunt Kitt died, but instead I was told that Kitt had a miraculous recovery, I was in absolute shock.
“She died on Monday and on Wednesday she sat up in bed with a cup of coffee and a bowl of Weetabix – she’s great.”
Marie paid tribute to the “incredible” NHS staff who saved her cousin’s life, saying that she and her family “can’t thank them enough” for what they have done.
Martin Barkley, Chief Executive of The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said, “I was delighted to hear that Mrs. Grace has made great strides in her recovery.
“You can see in the video how much it means for our staff to see her leave the hospital to recover in Oak Park nursing home.
“Everyone at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust wishes Kitty and her family the very best for the future.”