SHE has previously survived a Nazi assassination attempt, a plane crash and breast cancer - now a woman has survived contracting coronavirus in a York care home at the age of 99.

Michele Andrew has told of her mother Joy Andrew’s ‘miraculous’ recovery from Covid-19 at Minster Grange, after being nursed by a team of carers - one of whom she says caught the disease and had to go into intensive care but then courageously went back to work.

But she also spoke of her sadness that so many other residents had died during the outbreak. She claimed at least 20 had died in the lockdown by the first weekend in May and said she understood the figure now reached over 30, although she did not know how many deaths were confirmed as being caused by the coronavirus. “It’s desperately sad that so many residents have lost their lives,” she said.

She said her mother, who has lived at the home in Haxby Road since 2013, tested positive for Covid-19 on May 16.

“On May 30, the care home rang me to say that Joy was at end of life,” she said. “She wasn’t speaking, eating or drinking. Her oxygen levels were fluctuating wildly. I went in to bid my mother a final farewell.

“This was not the first death-bed speech I’d been called in to make, but I was sure it would be the last. For the next two days, Joy’s life hung in the balance as she was nursed by a team. One of Joy’s carers courageously returned to work after contracting coronavirus; she had been admitted to intensive care at York Hospital. I admire her bravery.”

She said Joy, a former WAAF sergeant, who served in the Operations’ Room at Bomber Command based at Pocklington and Melbourne during the war, showed true fighting spirit herself as she battled the virus.

York Press:

“My mother survived an assassination attempt in post war Germany by her chauffeur, later identified as a Nazi, she survived a crash landing in the desert as one of BOAC’s first air hostesses, and was rescued by Bedouins, and she survived breast cancer. She certainly wasn’t going to let coronavirus defeat her.”

Michele said that on Joy’s unit of eight residents, only three others remained. “These are people I knew well, saw every week and liked. After six and a half years of visiting my mother there, Minster Grange has become a second home. I’m shocked and distressed by the number of residents who have died.

“This makes Joy’s Lazarus-like survival even more remarkable. Unfortunately, my mother’s dementia prevents her from recognising this achievement. However Joy’s two nieces, four great nephews and nieces and thirteen great, great nephews and nieces, join me in celebrating her recovery.

“Hopefully it’s a boost for the staff at Minster Grange too, as at times it must feel like working in a war zone. I am grateful for the part they played in this extraordinary recovery.”

She said that with Joy due to celebrate her 100th birthday on November 22, there were plans to celebrate ‘big-time’, adding: “I’d like to throw a party for the residents and staff, if distancing measures allow. Her centenary would mark another remarkable achievement.”

York Press:

Michele explained how her mother survived a Nazi’s assassination attempt and a plane crash.

She said that after the war, Joy joined The British Army of The Rhine and was posted to Dusseldorf, where she lodged with an elderly couple with whom she became very friendly, but who had a daughter who was a Nazi.

“My mother was allocated her own driver to take her wherever she wanted to go,” she said. “This included a trip to Berlin, where she wandered alone in the remains of the Reichstag. She also went to the Nuremberg Trials. Because my mother’s family is Jewish, this was obviously important to her.

“Quite probably, the couple’s daughter informed Joy’s driver that she was an easy target. One day, the driver picked her up and, en route to the destination, deliberately crashed the car in an attempt to kill her. She still bears the scar on her face from the assassination attempt. The driver was arrested and turned out to be a Nazi.

“After the war, she joined BOAC as one of the first air hostesses and flew the Africa route. One day the pilot made a dreadful mistake and flew off course, running out of fuel. The plane, a comet, crashed in Libya and broke upon impact. The crew survived but one passenger died. They were all stranded in the desert and rescued by bedouins.”

The owners of Minster Grange care home have thanked Michele for the praise she gave to staff at the home - and given an assurance that they provide safe care to residents.

Paul Brookfield, regional director of Maria Mallaband Care Group, of Leeds, said: “I would like to thank Michele for the positive comments regarding her amazing mother Joy.”

He said he could confirm that the "health and wellbeing of all our wonderful residents and fabulous staff is our utmost priority", and that the staff continued to provide care in line with government guidelines.

He did not respond when asked by The Press whether it was correct that 30 residents had died during the lockdown, or that a carer had been treated in intensive care after catching the virus and had then courageously returned to work after recovering.

Minster Grange in Haxby Road, which provides nursing care and care for people living with dementia, is the third care home in York known to have experienced outbreaks of coronavirus.

The Press has revealed previously that there have been cases at both Meadowbeck in Osbaldwick and South Park in Acomb.

City of York Council has said that while it knows which homes across the city have experienced cases of Covid-19 and how many residents have died, it is not willing to identify them, citing issues such as patient confidentiality for its stance.