A SENIOR citizen campaigner who survived cancer and tirelessly fought for pensioners rights has told how she feared she would lose her own personal battle against Covid.

Ivy Siegfried, 84, became gravely ill on Christmas Eve after a period where she had been feeling poorly and not eating.

Her loved ones were left frantic with worry as she went rapidly downhill over the festive period.

Things came to a head on January 9 when her son David and his wife Lynne visited and begged her to let them call an ambulance.

Ivy said: "David looked so upset and was sitting there beside me, begging me to let him call an ambulance.

"I thought 'this isn't right, putting my son through this'."

Ivy, whose twin sister died of coronavirus last year, was so unwell that she believes the 999 phone call saved her life.

She told the Telegraph: "If I had left it another day I don't think I would have been here."

Ivy is a long-time community activist but she became prominent during the fight against TV licence fee charges for pensioners, after a story in the Tele led to her being invited on to a popular daytime ITV show.

When paramedics arrived at her house to whisk her to IRH, one of the crew recognised her from her appearance on This Morning.

She said: "They were two lovely big chaps and one of them said 'Ivy? I saw you on the telly fighting against the TV licence fee - I'm right behind you."

After being hospitalised Ivy spent more than a week in the Covid ward at Inverclyde Royal.

She was put on a cocktail of nine tablets a day, was on a drip and had oxygen to keep her alive.

Ivy admits that at one stage she thought she would not pull through.

She said: "I said to myself, 'Ivy, if you're going to go, it's your time'.

"You come into this world and the only thing you can be sure of is that you'll be going back out.

"The doctor came in to talk to me about all my treatment, using all these big words.

"He starting explaining everything to me and when he asked if I had any questions I said I wanted to know if I would make it to March, as I knew that was when my first great-grandchild would be born.

"He told me he would try his very best."

Ivy's grandson Alan Knox is a professor working in America and his wife is expecting a baby in a few weeks time.

Ivy said: "I want to see that baby.

"I told myself I was not going without a fight."

Ivy says that she cannot thank the IRH staff highly enough for the way they looked after her in the 'spotless' ward.

She said: "I was exhausted just watching one of the nurses, all the staff were like that.

"They all worked so hard."

Ivy's underlying health conditions of cancer and asthma made her vulnerable to the virus, and she had been already on oxygen at home for two years.

The former secretary of Cowdenknowes Residents' Association, is well known for her spirit but she admits the virus has 'floored' her.

While in hospital she had plenty of time to reflect and her mind was a rollercoaster of emotions.

She said: "My twin sister Hazel had died of Covid in September.

"That was constantly on my mind."

Ivy was recently allowed home and she can now consume liquids and is slowly trying to build up her strength.

She is being looked after by her daughter Vicky, 51, who lives in Falkirk, at weekends and by her son David, who stays in Gourock, during the week.

But the proud grandmother remains very frail and weak and is still having to sleep downstairs in her home.

She says she is determined to make a recovery.

Ivy said: "I am getting there.

"I'm determined to do as much as I can once I have my full strength back."