Jason Watkins and wife Clara Francis smiling on the red carpet

Jason Watkins’ touching tribute to late daughter Maude and how her death ‘changed everything’

A heartbreaking story

Jason Watkins has a tattoo as a touching tribute to his daughter Maude, whose death “changed everything”.

The McDonald and Dodds actor previously revealed he has his daughter’s name down his left forearm, matching with his wife, Clara Francis.

She has hers down her right arm.

Jason Watkins
Jason’s daughter passed away aged just two-and-a-half (Credit: Splash News)

Actor Jason Watkins on tribute to daughter Maude

Jason told The Guardian back in 2017: “When we hold hands we like to think Maude is right there with us.”

Everything changed for the couple when their daughter died in 2011, aged just two-and-a-half years old.

It changes everything in your life, and that includes your work.

Jason explained: “It changes everything in your life, and that includes your work. In one sense, after a loss this huge, work seems trivial.

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“But in another sense, it becomes more important. I feel that whatever I do, I’m going to really make it count.”

What happened to Jason Watkins’ daughter?

At first, the couple – who have four children now – thought little Maude just had a cough.

When it didn’t improve, she went to the GP and then to A&E twice. As she struggled to breathe, doctors diagnosed her with croup.

She was sent home on New Year’s Eve 2010, where Clara put her into her cot for the night – she appeared to be getting better. But a few hours later, when Jason went to check on her, she was cold. He knew she had passed away.

Maude was killed by sepsis – a condition that occurs when the immune system attacks the body’s tissue and organs.

Read more: McDonald & Dodds series 3 – how many episodes is it, where’s it filmed and when does it start?

In January, Clara shared a heartbreaking post on Instagram. The video showed Maude playing innocently at a kids’ playground. The adorable little girl can be seen toddling around the slides and swings.

Mum Clara wrote: “It’s taken me over 10 years to be able to watch videos of you. The way you moved, the lightness, the sound of you, your infinite body weighted down by glorious gravity.”

She added: “One thing is true and that is my love for you, the love I carry with me every second, minute, hour, day, week, month, YEAR of my life that sustains. I love you eternally, my Maudie.”

McDonald & Dodds series 3 starts on Sunday June 19 2022 at 8pm on ITV.

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