Mourners lined the streets of a Welsh city to pay tribute to a “larger than life” family man who died after testing positive for coronavirus.
Paul Wilkins, known as “Wilko” to close friends and family, died at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport on April 23, about three weeks after being admitted.
Friends, family members, and neighbours paid tribute to the 59-year-old by lining the street in Gaer where he lived with his son Thomas Wilkins on Monday afternoon.
A hearse was followed by a large motorbike procession along the street in homage to Paul who was a motorbike and car enthusiast.
Fireworks were let off as the hearse left the street, prompting onlookers to burst into applause.
The procession made its way along Bassaleg Road, Stow Hill and Corporation Road as many more friends stood outside to pay their respects to Paul, who was popular and well known around Newport.
A small service was held at Langstone Vale Crematorium attended only by relatives due to the current government restrictions on funerals due to coronavirus.
Paul’s brother Adrian Wilkins, 63, said: “My brother has always been a battler and it was one he couldn’t win.
“He knew a lot of people but when you see the people coming out it’s just incredible.
“He was selfless. He would always forget about himself and think about others. As long as everyone else is alright he is.
“He would love all this.”
Paul, who worked as a delivery driver, was taken to the Royal Gwent Hospital with severe breathing difficulties on April 1 after spending days feeling unwell at home.
He tested positive for Covid-19 and was placed in an induced coma. Paul died in hospital in the early hours of Thursday, April 23.
Paul was the proud father of Thomas, 26, and Emma, 21, and partner to Linda Jenkins.
He spent many years working as a doorman in Newport and ran his own club for several years.
Sammy Nasser, 52, was a close friend of Paul’s and drove to his street to pay his respects.
“I knew Paul for 40 years,” Sammy said. “He was the loveliest guy you could ever meet. Literally do anything for anybody. It’s a sad state of affairs but in reality this virus is taking anybody. It doesn’t pick and choose.
“Paul was literally the life and soul. He loved his motorbikes and he was well loved by a lot of people.”