'Funny and generous': Family's tribute to Blackpool school site supervisor after he dies at the Vic following Covid battle

A school site supervisor, who died after battling Covid in hospital for almost three weeks, has been remembered as a funny and generous husband, dad, and grandad.

Tuesday, 24th November 2020, 4:06 pm
Updated Friday, 27th November 2020, 10:00 pm

Michael Haigh, 60, who worked at three resort catholic academies, lost his fight for life last weekend.

"He would do anything to help anyone," his daughter Katherine said.

His wife Fiona added: "He liked helping the children. He used to mend their toys and make them things because he was very good with his hands."

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Michael Haigh, 60, from Anchorsholme, who died at Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Sunday, November 15, 2020, after testing positive for Covid-19 (Picture: The Haigh family)

Michael, who lived in Anchorsholme and once ran his own company, MRH Plumbing and Heating, began working at three schools run by the Blessed Edward Bamber Catholic Multi Academy Trust - Christ the King, St Mary's, and, occasionally, St Cuthbert's - in April 2016.

Having suffered a heart attack in late 2013, he began shielding in March this year, when the nation went into lockdown, but returned to school on June 21.

"He did not flinch at going back," Fiona said. "He wanted to."

Michael, who was known for his sense of humour and was given the nickname Pippy by his grandchildren, was diagnosed with Covid in October, though it isn't known where he caught the bug.

He was taken to the Vic, in Whinney Heys Road, by ambulance five days later when his condition worsened and his oxygen levels dropped.

Taken straight to intensive care, the die-hard Blackpool fan, who was a season ticket holder at Bloomfield Road, was later placed on a ventilator.

Despite the efforts of medics, Michael died 20 days after being admitted, on Sunday, November 15, leaving behind Fiona, Katherine, his other daughters Rachael, Caroline and Stephanie, and his grandchildren Francesca, Rose, Tommy, and Arthur.

He also leaves his sister Ann and three nephews.

Arthur, who turned a month old on the day Michael died, had been unable to meet his grandfather due to Covid restrictions.

Christ the King Catholic Academy, in Rodwell Walk, Grange Park, had urged its 225 pupils and their families to "storm heaven with prayers" on Fiona's behalf while her husband was in hospital.

It opened a book of condolence following his death, and said: "Your prayers, cards, and messages ... will be very much appreciated by his family.

"School staff are considerably raw following the news and I thank you for your love and support for them at this difficult time."

Helen O'Neill, chief executive officer at the Blessed Edward Bamber Catholic Multi Academy trust, said: "Michael has worked at St Mary's and the trust for the past four-and-a-half years and was well loved by staff across the three academies.

"We are truly grateful for the gift of having known and worked with him.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and family at this sad time."

In April, Michael's dad Neville Haigh, 88, whose familial nickname was Poppy, also died after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The former civil engineer was behind some of the resort's biggest projects, including the tunnels and outfalls for pumping stations at Manchester Square and Anchorsholme, as well as the sea-lion and penguin pools at Blackpool Zoo.

A funeral service for Michael, who as a youngster went to Norbreck Junior School and Blackpool Grammar School, will be held at Carleton Crematorium on Friday, December 4.

Donations in his memory can be made to Noah's Ark Pastures New Adoptions, which works to re-home puppies and young dogs rescued from Romania, although family flowers only have been requested.

Michael and Fiona adopted their dog Angus from Noah's Ark.

The Haigh family wished to thank Dr Jason Cupitt and the rest of the intensive care and nursing staff at the Vic, as well as the paramedics from the North West Ambulance Service, for their care.