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Trader woke up from operation to discover country was in lockdown

PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 June 2020

Jo Edye who woke up after being on medication for sepsis to find the country was in lockdown, pictured at his home in Wroxham, Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Jo Edye who woke up after being on medication for sepsis to find the country was in lockdown, pictured at his home in Wroxham, Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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A Norwich trader woke up “in a completely new world” to learn the country was in lockdown after fighting sepsis.

St Augustine Street Traders Mikey Smith, Jo Edye, John Brennan and David Todd opened their doors again on June 15. Picture: Clarissa PlaceSt Augustine Street Traders Mikey Smith, Jo Edye, John Brennan and David Todd opened their doors again on June 15. Picture: Clarissa Place

Norwich Screen Art owner Jo Edye developed an infection in his knee resulting in several weeks in hospital.

The 62-year-old, from Wroxham, had gone to A&E at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) on February 20, after bashing his knee which is where the infection was found.

Mr Edye said: “They stuck a syringe in my knee and sucked out all of this pus and said ‘you are in here for the next few weeks.’”

After operations on his knee, Mr Edye developed sepsis and was moved onto a high dependency ward and required morphine to fight the infection.

David Todd, of Todd Designs, in St Augustine Street. Picture: Clarissa PlaceDavid Todd, of Todd Designs, in St Augustine Street. Picture: Clarissa Place

Due to the medication he was not aware the country had gone into lockdown until he learnt the news from his wife Cally.

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He said: “I wasn’t in a coma, I was pretty much out of my head.

“My wife came in and she told me about it, that lockdown had happened.

“She said I have to get to the supermarket and get some beers in they are shutting the pubs.”

Jo Edye, owner of Norwich Screen Art, in St Augustine Street, Norwich. Picture: Clarissa PlaceJo Edye, owner of Norwich Screen Art, in St Augustine Street, Norwich. Picture: Clarissa Place

“A friend of mine said to me that it was just like 28 Days Later [film] I have never seen it. I just woke up and it was a completely different world.

“The hospital was on lockdown and I wasn’t allowed visitors just getting the occassional text message saying ‘this is weird.’

“I came in knowing that Covid-19 was a thing but when I was going into hospital nobody was really thinking about it, two weeks later it’s the biggest thing on the planet.

“He said: “I had been out of action all this time and the world has completely changed.

John Brennan of NR3, in St Augustine Street, Norwich. Picture: Clarissa PlaceJohn Brennan of NR3, in St Augustine Street, Norwich. Picture: Clarissa Place

“I had no idea what was going on, For two weeks I was having hallucinations because of the infection and the morphine. It took me a while to realise what was going on.”

Mr Edye spent 39 days in hospital before returning home on March 31 and needed shield while he received intravenous antibiotics at home.

On his first visit out in Norwich he said the only time he saw the city that quiet was on Christmas Day, calling it “unnerving”.

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He has now been able to return to work opening the doors to his shop on St Augustines Street on Monday.

Mikey Smith, of Little Smiths in St Augustine Street, Norwich. Picture: Clarissa PlaceMikey Smith, of Little Smiths in St Augustine Street, Norwich. Picture: Clarissa Place

The business, which has been on the street since 1982, has been taking orders online running with the help of employee Dan Joebey, but will face a challenge over the summer.

He said: “We are involved with all the big events, they are all cancelled, it is a struggle to get by through the summer and hopefully we will manage it.

“It was a really terrific day with quite a few customers come in to do a bit of business.”

He said usually he would be able to show customers designs but now sets down the catalogue for them while maintaining 2m distance, which he described as “weird”.

Jo Edye who woke up after being on medication for sepsis to find the country was in lockdown, pictured at his home in Wroxham, Picture: DENISE BRADLEYJo Edye who woke up after being on medication for sepsis to find the country was in lockdown, pictured at his home in Wroxham, Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

He is among the many independent traders on the “vibrant” street that have looked forward to celebrate their return to business.

Proud of their business community, many aim to continue promoting the “quirky” and “vibrant” aspects of their street.

David Todd, of Todd Designs, said: “It is a nice, vibrant part of the city, it’s unique it doesn’t have any high street brands on it, we just have to stick together and shout about our little street.”

NR3 owner John Brennan, 20, had only been open two weeks before lockdown was announced.

Rob Edye who woke up after being on medication for sepsis to find the country was in lockdown, pictured at his home in Wroxham, Picture: DENISE BRADLEYRob Edye who woke up after being on medication for sepsis to find the country was in lockdown, pictured at his home in Wroxham, Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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he first time business owner, who is allowing one customer in at a time due to the space, was working in finance before swapping to open the business.

With trade able to continue online, the 20-year-old said it was important to think positive going forward and excited to see people out and about.

Mr Brennan said: “Local comes in all kinds of sizes. You have people like me who have just opened, Little Smiths that have been here a while and places like Jarrolds, a large local shop. People have seen the likes of Cath Kidston and Peacocks all these big stores struggling and it makes people think about the local ones, it’s good to have everyone’s encouragement.”

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Mikey Smith, of Little Smiths, reopened with shorter opening hours, hand sanitiser and plastic screening in front of the till.

He said one of the saddest parts about lockdown was not being able to showcase the work of 90 makers available in the shop.

He said: “It’s been lovely, people have been coming in to say hello.

“It is great to be back. Eventually we want to do a reunion party when we can.”


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