MARIE Rimmer MP celebrated her late father’s 100th birthday by singing along to Frank Sinatra after being prevented from visiting his grave.

Her father, Tommy Gill died at the turn of the century, in 1999.

Marie, MP for St Helens South and Whiston, had planned to light a candle at her dad’s grave, along with her six siblings, to mark his 100th birthday.

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But due to the current UK coronavirus lockdown, Marie and her brothers and sisters were prevented from making this touching tribute to their dad.

“The current crisis presents new challenges for all of us,” Marie said in a letter published in the St Helens Star.

“On Saturday, it would have been my late father’s 100th birthday.

“With three brothers and three sisters, I belong to a big Catholic family, and we had planned to attend the cemetery with flowers and to light a candle on his grave.

“But the current crisis meant that this was not possible.”

St Helens Star: A family photo of Marie Rimmer and her family when her father Tommy Gill was still aliveA family photo of Marie Rimmer and her family when her father Tommy Gill was still alive

Rather than do nothing, the Gill family came up a different way to pay tribute to their dad.

“My dad loved to sing, he really did,” Marie said.

“So in the evening, we all sang our favourite song in our own homes that our dad used to sing, with mine being ‘My Way’ by Frank Sinatra.

“I have loved that song since my dad first introduced me to it. It was difficult to not be with my family in person, but we did what we could to be together.

“Just because we could not physically go to the cemetery, did not mean we could not be together in memory of our dad.

“Life still goes on during this situation.”

St Helens Star: Frank SinatraFrank Sinatra

Marie said the current crisis presents “new challenges for all of us”, adding that society itself has “been shook to its core”.

The former leader of St Helens Council said she, like many others, has been adjusting to the new way of life, working from home like millions of others across the UK.

This has involved parliamentary video conferences and remote meetings with both St Helens and Knowsley councils to discuss their respective responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

While adjusting to the new way life presents a challenge unlike anything we’ve ever faced before, Marie is confident the people of St Helens have the resolve to overcome it.

“St Helens is my home, I have lived here my entire life,” she said.

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“I have seen first-hand how we have worked together to overcome challenges for decades.

“The challenge we currently face with coronavirus is different to anything we have experienced together in the past, but I know that as a community we can overcome it.

“Over the coming weeks and months we all have a part to play.”