‘Hard as nails’ mum’s rousing send off after life touched by tragedy

A woman whose life was touched by tragedy was given a unique send-off by a Swansea community under lockdown.

Townhill residents stood in their gardens and clapped from windows as a horse drawn cortege with Vicky Simpson, who lost both her husband and two sons in devastating circumstances, because Covid restrictions strictly limited the number of people who could attend her funeral ceremony.

The 60-year-old, of Gwynedd Avenue, died last month from a lung condition.

The mother-of-seven had endured much adversity, which she faced with stoicism.

Having been born in London, named Veronica O’Connor, she never knew her father and was raised by her grandmother – and her siblings for years believed her to be their aunt.

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She met her future husband Anthony when she was aged just 15, and the couple set up home in Penlan, where had the first of seven sons, Michael.

After moving to Taliesyn Road in Townhill six more followed; Ricky, Dene, Paul, Jay, Alexander and Ashley.

Vicky loved all animals according to her family
(Image: Paul Simpson)

Tragically however Jay suffered a cot death after just three weeks.

The couple couple continued to care for their family while dealing with their grief; Vicky working as a cleaner and in a nursing home, while Anthony would also work cleaning schools in the early hours, before coming home to see to his children in the morning.

Son Paul said: “They never fully recovered from the loss of Jay.

“But they worked hard to provide for us. And we were nutters on the hill – we would bring trouble to the house, and they left Townhill for a while as a result, but they returned.

“But they then had to deal with the suicide of my brother Ashley.

“It was the breaking of my father”.

Vicky Simpson suffered repeated tragedies during her lifetime
(Image: Paul Simpson)

Ashley, who was aged just 18, was discovered at the family home on Ceri Road.

His loss sent Anthony into a spiral of grief and depression, which led to a six month jail sentence after confronting his son’s former partner whom he blamed for his death.

Then, less than a year after the death of his son, Anthony took his own life in the same family home, aged just 47.

“It was totally out of the blue,” said Paul.

“He just wanted to be with his son.

“Mum was so depressed after losing two sons, as well as my father.

“She endured one cot death and two suicides, but she was as tough as boots, and just got on with it.

“She would never tell you she was down”.

Vicky Simpson’s sons, nephew Oliver and brother Paul attend her funeral
(Image: Paul Simpson)

The avid Enrique Iglesias fan, who was once pulled from the audience by the singer at a concert in Cardiff, collapsed at her home in Gwynedd Avenue in early December, and despite the attention of paramedics passed away.

Paul added: “Mum was so well known in Townhill and Swansea.

“Everyone knew Vicky Simpson. She was hard as nails, but she was a good mother.

“She absolutely loved animals too; dogs, cats, even spiders. We grew up with all sorts of pets.

“She would never let anyone mess with her or us, and we always had the best growing up even if it meant her and my dad going without”.

WalesOnline – Swansea