'We couldn't cuddle at mum's graveside while Boris partied' says grieving Clifton daughter

By Jack Thurlow

A grieving daughter has spoken of her anguish after burying her mother a day before the Prime Minister attended a rule-breaking lockdown party.

Dawn Johnson, 53, says she feels "bitter" following the revelation that Boris Johnson attended a public gathering on May 20, 2020.

Boris Johnson apologised at Prime Minister Questions for attending the “bring your own booze” gathering in the garden of No 10 during England’s first lockdown as he fought to save his premiership.

The Prime Minister acknowledged the public “rage” over the incident but insisted he thought it could have been technically within the rules.

Yet, Nottinghamshire families who lost loved ones during the pandemic are angered by the Prime Minister's actions and have refused to accept his apology.

Many were unable to properly say goodbye to their mothers or fathers during the pandemic.

Dawn Johnson, of Clifton, wrote to the Prime Minister in May 2020 to request a piece of her mother's, whose name was Rita Johnson, hair to keep in a locket after she died.

Dawn says that she never heard back from the Prime Minister.

She said: "I feel really bitter, annoyed, angry, upset, all the emotions that you can think of.

"That stems from the fact that my mum passed away from Covid on April 27th 2020.

"She passed away in a home. I hadn't seen her for ages apart from through a window.

"It was devastating.

"All I wanted from my mum was a piece of her hair so I could wear it in a locket.

"I wrote to Boris Johnson in the hope that he could do something for me because the funeral director said I couldn't have any of her hair because of Covid.

"I couldn't get to see her in the home because of Covid - it was just horrendous.

"I never ever got a reply back and not anything two years later.

"Now you hear all this in the news and what's been going on and I just can't get over it, it's just really upsetting.

"I don't know why but I just had faith that by the time my mum was buried on the 19th of May I'd get that go-ahead and I could get that piece of hair before we laid her to rest but that just didn't happen.

"We had to have a really small funeral.

"We couldn't have funeral cars, we had to go in our own cars.

"There were no pallbearers, she was wheeled in on a trolley and that was heartbreaking to see that as well.

"Heartbreaking to not be able to cuddle each other even at the graveside we had to stand apart."

A number of other families have also spoken out about their dismay over the Prime Minister's antics.

Nicola Smith, 52, lost her mother Gillian Smith to Covid in April 2020.

She has said that her family were forced to select a small number of people to attend the funeral.

She said: "It does anger me.

"I'm angry for people who are in the same position as I am and our family are.

"Obviously at the time we could only have ten at the funeral and it's a case of picking who can and can't go.

"For us it was just me, my sister and my daughter.

"There was ten of us and even our own sister couldn't go or any of the cousins or anything like that - none of them could go.

"It shouldn't be like that. You just sit there and think 'what kind of send of is this'"

"It's just not what she would have wanted - she would have wanted her family there.

"And then you've got the Prime Minister doing exactly what he wants and yet dictating what the rest of the country should do.

"I just find it absolutely appalling, the whole thing.

"It's my mum that's lost out in a sense because she couldn't have the people there that she would've wanted to.

"You get one chance at saying a proper goodbye to somebody and you can't even do that.

"We couldn't even do a wake after and yet he's had his party."

The Prime Minister has acknowledged the public rage over the incident but insisted he thought it could have been technically within the rules.

Mr Johnson's comments have failed to appease many MPs and he is now thought to be under pressure to resign.

Katie Anthony, 26, from Eastwood, was appalled to hear that many of the country's leading figures had been attending parties when the UK was supposed to be in lockdown.

Katie's father, 999 call handler Martin Anthony, died in February 2021 and she was not allowed to see him in hospital. She said: "Personally I'm just appalled that someone with such high standing and importance within our government could have the audacity to think it's acceptable to have a party and then try and excuse the fact or not even answer the question when we all know what he and everyone else has done.

"When my father, who passed away 8th of February last year, we were not even allowed to go and see him for the two-to-three weeks in hospital.

"We couldn't even have phone calls because he was so ill.

"We only had a short time with him in person which was with limited people before he passed away.

"If we cannot have our freedom what gives them the right to overrule that but I guess that's because they believe they have a higher power."

Another woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, lost her mother to Covid during the pandemic.

Tomorrow (January 13) will mark one year since she died. She said: "Yes I'm really angry about it.

"Of course if you were sat in ICU holding your mums hand while she passed away from Covid and witness this first hand like I did, it's not an image you want to remember, but I do.

"My mum really fought for her life in those 6 days.

You have the nurses crying with you and they work so hard and witness this everyday.

"He has absolutely no compassion for the people or their respective families that have lost loved ones.

"I miss my mum everyday. I only lost my dad four years previously to cancer at 65 so it was a double blow and it's not something you easily get over.

"If only they knew it's my mums 1 year Anniversary tomorrow - Let's hope she gets some kind of justice with him resigning."

Many MPs, including opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer, have called for the Prime Minister to resign.

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