The first man in the world to be given the Covid-19 vaccine has died.
Tributes have been paid to 81-year-old William Shakespeare who hit global headlines on December 8 last year when he became the first man to have the jab at the University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire.
Bill, as he was fondly known, passed away last Thursday after suffering a stroke – at the same hospital where he famously received his vaccine.
His picture appeared on front pages across the world – much to both his and his family’s delight.
But, at the time, much was played on the fact that he was called William Shakespeare and was from Warwickshire, but the pensioner was a fiercely proud of being from Coventry according to his friends.
His sad death is being mourned not only by his family but the many people he came into contact with.
He was a “much-loved figure” in the Coventry Labour party according to local councillor Jayne Innes, who will be fondly remembered.
The Allesley resident had been a parish councillor for 30 years, of which he was chairman of the parish council for 20 years.
Jayne told Coventry Live: “He was such a lovely man, one who had a real commitment to making his local area better.
“During lockdown local families will have enjoyed walking amongst the trees planted by Bill and his colleagues in Allesley back in the 1980s.
“He was also very involved with the creation of the Coundon Wood in 2005 and in fundraising for the purchase of Elkin Wood, now managed by the Woodland Trust in 1997.
“Bill was a life-long campaigner, so he was delighted to be able to help encourage everyone to have the vaccine in order to return to all the things we enjoy in life. I’ve had my first. Having our jabs is the best tribute we can all pay Bill.
“He was a keen photographer, loved jazz and socialising, and also loved the natural world and gardens. Bill will be remembered for many things including a taste for mischief.
“He was a much respected figure in the Coventry Labour Party and he will be sorely missed.”
Angela Hopkins, Coventry Labour Party secretary, added: “Bill has been an active member for many, many years, particularly in Bablake ward where he has walked hundreds of thousands of steps every year campaigning for the party and was an Allesley Parish Councillor.
“I know that he will be greatly missed not only by members in Bablake,
but by colleagues across the constituency and beyond.”
But it was not just in political circles that Bill was known.
He used to work at Rolls Royce, was also a governor at two schools but above all, he was a family man.
He leaves behind his wife Joy, two sons, one also called William but known as Will, as well as Julian.
He was also a proud grandfather.
Funeral details have yet to be arranged.