As the nation marks Freedom Day today, Dame Maureen Lipman is one of hundreds of thousands of people who will be mourning a loved one lost during the pandemic – her partner of 14 years Guido Castro.

Most heartbreakingly of all, she wasn’t able to hold his hand, as she had to wear full PPE at his bedside.

“It is unbelievable to have to say goodbye to somebody with gloves and a pinafore on,” she reveals. “It doesn’t bear thinking about.”

Guido, 84, who suffered from ­Parkinson’s disease, passed away in January. He technically survived a long battle with the virus, but Dame Maureen says it led to his quick demise soon afterwards. “He survived COVID in a care home. But he didn’t really survive” she says. ‘It knocked the stuffing out of him”.

But the star, who plays Coronation Street ’s battleaxe Evelyn Plummer, knows she was one of the lucky ones.

Guido ended his days in a care home, where she was at least able to be in the same room, unlike all those who lost loved ones earlier in the pandemic.

And she’s quick to point out she is not blaming the Government either, with the rules in place for the right reason.

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