Coronavirus claims life of former Scaffolder

Scaffolder dies Coronavirus
John Borthwick, Image Credit: ChronicleLive

A popular former scaffolder from Gateshead who tested positive for Covid-19 has died in hospital on Friday

John Borthwick, 78 of Low Fell, Gateshead had Alzheimer’s disease and developed a chest infection. According to reports he was taken to the hospital where he tested positive for Covid-19, sadly he lost his life in the early hours of Friday (10th April).

Mr Borthwick used to work as a scaffolder, he was part of a team who erected scaffolding on the arch of the Tyne Bridge in the 1970s for maintenance. He later went on to work offshore.

A family member told the ChronicleLive: “He travelled a lot through his work and went to places like Holland and Germany doing different jobs. He talked about working on top of the Tyne Bridge a lot – at that time they went up there without any harnesses or ropes. They just climbed up.

John Borthwick on the Tyne Bridge (prictured kneeling on the right, at the back) Image Credit: ChronicleLive

“Working on the Tyne Bridge was something he was very proud of.”

John was also well known and respected in his community.

“He was so popular and was adored by hundreds of people,” his family said.

“If he went out for a pint, he would be shaking hands with everyone in every pub he went to, in Newcastle and Gateshead. It was like that every time he went out. Wherever he went, everyone knew him. He was such a lovable man.”

John’s family have also praised the hospital staff who helped to care for him.

They said: “The nurses were absolutely amazing, they were fantastic. They really looked after him.”