Tributes have been paid to a jeweller with a “heart of gold” who died after contracting coronavirus.

Kelly Dunning, 48, from Croxley Green, died at Watford General Hospital on Saturday (March 28) after he was diagnosed with Covid-19 just over a week before.

Despite not being in the traditionally older age bracket, and having no underlying health conditions, the virus took over his body in just 12 days.

Mr Dunning moved to Watford at the age of 14 where he attended Queen’s School in Bushey.

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Following his father’s footsteps who took an apprenticeship in jewellery, Mr Dunning co-opened Crafted Jewellery in Kings Langley over a year and half ago.

His “heart of gold” struck many as he built a rapport with the community and gained the trust of customers to handle their precious jewellery and belongings.

Left behind at the store now are bundles of flowers to honour the jeweller.

Watford Observer: Flowers were left behind at Crafted JewelleryFlowers were left behind at Crafted Jewellery

His brother Bradley Dunning said: “My brother was full of life; he was a big man with a kind heart.

“If you looked at him with his skinhead and tattoos, some people would have been scared, but as soon as you talk to him you could not escape his affection. He treated everybody with the upmost respect.”

Notably Mr Dunning kept himself healthy with regular boxing sessions twice a week with his personal trainer, not over-drinking alcohol too much and being a non-smoker.

But within the 12-day period when his symptoms started showing, he was struggling to breathe and his wife – who showed minor symptoms and later recovered – rushed him to Watford General.

He was taken into the intensive care unit but he died days later.

His brother added: “I want to pay my respects to the NHS who did an unbelievable job in looking after him, they did all they could and phoned in to my brother’s wife day-to-day to let her know how he was  - they’re angels.

“He took precautions, without a shadow of a doubt. He had a lot of contact with people as he handled their jewellery, but he always washed his hands and stayed in when he could.”

His brother is urging the public to follow government advice and avoid going outdoors as he said: “This is getting everyone. It’s an absolute tragedy and a great loss to the family, it doesn’t pick on the old it picks on anyone.

“It’s a serious issue, please do not risk lives and follow what the government and media are saying. By going out you could be spreading it someone and ruining the life of someone who doesn’t deserve it.”

Mr Dunning leaves behind two teenage daughters, one aged 12 and the other 18, and his his wife Mandy.

Friends of the jeweller have raised over £20,000 on a JustGiving page to support the family.