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Former editor dies aged 63 after long coronavirus battle

Kevin HighesA former editor who issued an impassioned plea from his hospital bed for people to abide by coronavirus restrictions has died aged 63 after a long battle with the disease.

Tributes have been paid to Kevin Hughes, who edited the Flintshire Chronicle during his career.

Kevin, pictured, was hospitalised with Covid-19 three weeks before Christmas and spoke out in North Wales daily The Leader about his experience of missing his own mother’s funeral following her death, which came after she also tested positive for the disease.

He also pleaded with Leader readers to avoid the temptation of breaking the restrictions put in place over the festive period, which he spent away from his family in Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

Kevin, who also spent time in the police and was a member of Flintshire County Council, died in the early hours of 8 January.

His son Andy said: “He gave the biggest battle and we are so, so proud of him, not only in the final few weeks but over an incredible 63 years walking this earth, making his mark on it in a way that only he could.

“We can’t believe how many people have been in contact from all over the world these last few weeks. It made us understand how loved he was.

“We can’t thank the critical care unit enough for the tireless efforts to get dad to beat Covid.

“It’s just such a horrible, cruel virus that when it lands on your doorstep rocks your world.”

Kevin was born and raised in Chester and initially worked for Cheshire Constabulary, serving as a police diver, before moving into journalism after his retirement from the force.

He initially worked on the Chester Chronicle before taking up the editorship of the Flintshire Chronicle in the mid-2000s.

During his time there he interviewed Prime Minister Gordon Brown and helped to raise £40,000 for the Countess of Chester Hospital’s special baby care unit.

Hadyn Iball, head of photography at North Wales Live, described Kevin as a “larger than life character, full of enthusiasm, who gave 100% to everything he put his hand to”.

He added: “Colleagues past and present will be saddened at the news of his loss.”

In recent years he worked for North Wales-based public relations company Ceidiog Communication, as well as representing Gwernymynydd, the village where he live, as an independent councillor.

Ceidiog Hughes, managing director of Ceidiog Communication, told The Leader: “Every member of the team is heartbroken and our love and thoughts are with his beloved family at this extremely difficult time.

“Kevin was an unforgettable larger than life character who was loved by all who had the good fortune to meet him and call him a friend.

“As well as being totally professional and a shrewd operator in relation to work matters, Kevin was also full of mischievous fun and one of the kindest, most generous people I know.

“Kevin was equally popular with all our clients and they too are devastated by his loss. We will all miss him terribly

“He is a huge loss to his family and the community in Gwernymynydd which he served with great verve and distinction as their local county councillor.

“While fighting for his life in critical care, Kevin was determined to get out the message about the dangers posed by this terrible virus and I hope that people take heed and behave responsibly so we suppress it until the rollout of the vaccine is completed.”

Kevin is survived by wife Sally, to whom he was married for 43 years, sons Chris, Steve and Andy, and seven grandchildren.