Tributes pour in for ‘gentle giant’ dad-of-three who lost Covid battle

Tributes have poured in for a dad-of-three described as a "gentle giant" and "everyone's uncle" who sadly lost his brave battle with Covid-19.

Oskar Hartwig tragically died after contracting the virus just six months before his 60th birthday.

The council worker was known for his huge heart and is being remembered across the borough of Nuneaton and Bedworth, where he worked.

Mr Hartwig, 59, was loved by many, and friends and family are heartbroken.

His niece Jackie said he wasn't just 'Uncle Osk' to her – but to so many.

"He wasn't just my uncle, he was everyone's uncle, he was everyone's friend, an amazing husband to Jan and just as an amazing dad to Kelly, Andy and Sarah and an absolute fabulous granddad," Jackie told Coventry Live.

"Everyone who got to be in his presence was just instantly drawn in with that beaming smile and that scotch voice of his and just instantly fell in love with him.

"He worked for Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council for nearly 30 years, whether it be from cleaning the toilets in the bus station to scrubbing the communal areas of the flats.

"Out on his work duties, he become everyone's uncle, friend and was known as the 'Gentle Giant' or 'Big Man' and probably a few other names.

"Sadly he lost his life due to Covid."

His niece added: "He loved his pool and a pint and he played wherever he could, whether it was at Camp Hill club, the Pheasant, the Punch Bowl and Fife Street.

"He played until he became poorly and caught Covid. He loves horse betting, much to auntie Jan's dismay, she had to limit him to a fiver in the end, he just laughed, he always had that big smile."

It was around four weeks ago when both he and his wife caught Covid-19. It came just as the couple suffered a burst pipe which led to expensive repairs needed to their ceiling.

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Jackie set-up a fund-raiser to help them cover the repair bill and the response was stunning with almost £800 being donated.

She said this was a testament to the affection people had for her uncle.

"There are some lovely people out there, Uncle Osk went to heaven knowing this," she said.

Sadly, while his wife had a mild form of Covid-19, Oskar had underlying health conditions and this led to him being hospitalised.

Tragically he ended up on a ventilator and bravely tried to fight off the virus, but he sadly died on November 19.

His funeral has yet to be arranged but, due to Covid-19 restrictions, only close family will be able to attend.

"There will be a funeral route where people can stand out, social distance of course and follow guidelines and people need to respect this on the day," his niece said.

"We will be having one amazing, massive memorial celebration for all once Covid allows. It is what he deserves."

Brent Davis, executive director at the borough council, said the popular employee was always willing to help people.

“It is always very sad when any council employee passes away and our heartfelt condolences go to members of Oskar’s family, friends and his work colleagues, at this very upsetting and difficult time," he said.

“Oskar worked for the council for many years in a number of roles including as a Town Hall porter; a market services operative; a member of our town centre events team and the elections team, and most recently in our street cleansing team.

"Oskar was well known and well-liked and was always willing to help people. He will be very much missed by all.”

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