Willesden woman who died from coronavirus given ‘joyous and heartbreaking’ salute by neighbours

Katherine Evans, who died aged 75 from coronavirus. Picture: Evans family

Katherine Evans, who died aged 75 from coronavirus. Picture: Evans family - Credit: Archant

A “kind, generous and very, very funny” Willesden woman who died from coronavirus was given a “joyous and heartbreaking” send off by her neighbours.

Hours before the Clap for Carers applause on Thursday last week, people left their homes in Chambers Lane to celebrate the life of 75-year-old Katherine Evans, a resident of 50 years who died the previous day after contracting Covid-19.

She had worked as a social worker for Brent Council, as well as Hounslow, and in retirement volunteered her skills to help refugees in detention at Yarl’s Wood.

“Mum died as she lived – forthright, determined, and even stubborn at times, but also kind, generous, and very, very funny,” said Katherine’s daughter Rebecca, who lives in the US. “She was always the sharpest, funniest person in the room. Quick witted and precise, with a nose for b******t. She also always had a decent bottle of wine on hand to lubricate a conversation.”

Katherine had seen families come and go during her time in the street, and was part of a book club and bridge group with neighbours.

Rebecca said the send off, which she was able to watch through WhatsApp, was “joyous and heartbreaking”.

“Only on her death did we realise how deeply so many people loved her,” she continued.

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“My brother Ben was at her house and one of her lovely neighbours linked me in. It was incredible. We are both touched beyond words by what mum’s neighbours did that evening.

“They had put up balloons and flowers and they had come outside their houses with pots and pans and air horns.

“On either side of the street and looking both to the left and to the right, mum’s neighbours stood at the end of their front garden paths, in social isolation. On cue, they celebrated a life well lived with three minutes of banging.”

The celebration ended with music played on a PA system erected by one of Katherine’s neighbours. It was the Morecambe and Wise theme tune, Bring me Sunshine.

As of Tuesday, Brent had the eighth highest number of coronavirus cases in the UK with 384.