27th Jul, 2021

First man to get Covid-19 jab, William Shakespeare, has died of unrelated illness

Laura Kearns 26th May, 2021

WILLIAM Shakespeare, the first man to get the Covid-19 jab, has died of an unrelated illness.

The 81-year-old from Coventry, who was the second person in the world to have the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, died last Thursday (May 20).

He received his first jab in December at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW), shortly after 91-year-old Margaret Keenan.

Mr Shakespeare – who was named after the famous playwright from Stratford – was a parish councillor at Allesley Parish Council for some 30 years and a governor at Coundon Court Secondary School for more than two decades.

UHCW said the Brownshill Green resident and former Rolls Royce engineer passed away from a stroke and died peacefully at the hospital.

He leaves his wife of 53 years, Joy, their two adult sons and grandchildren.

Joy said: “Bill was so grateful for being offered the opportunity to become one of the first people in the world to be given the vaccine.

“It was something he was hugely proud of – he loved seeing the media coverage and the positive difference he was able to make to the lives of so many.

“He often talked to people about it and would always encourage everyone to get their vaccine whenever he could.

“Bill loved meeting people and helping them in any way possible.

“Most of all he was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather, nicknamed Pop Pops by the grandchildren. He left a huge imprint on everyone who knew him and will be greatly missed.”

Mr Shakespeare, who was born in Coventry, was involved in planting hundreds of trees in Coundon Wedge, Allesley and the creation of Coundon Wood. He helped with the local fundraising to purchase Elkin Wood, which is now managed by The Woodland Trust.

He was also a talented photographer and loved all kinds of music, especially jazz. He regularly attended gigs to take pictures of the musicians.

Coventry councillor and friend of Mr Shakespeare, Jayne Innes said: “Greatly saddened and upset to hear our friend, the very lovely Bill Shakespeare, has passed away.

“Bill will be remembered for many things, including a taste for mischief.”

West Midlands Labour group added: “We’re sorry to hear of the death of Coventry Labour stalwart Bill Shakespeare. Bill made global headlines as the first man to have the Covid vaccine. His decades of service to the party were recently recognised by Keir Starmer. Our thoughts are with Joy and Bill’s family and friends.”

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