Stories of the UK’s
The oldest is 108, the youngest just a baby. These are just some of the UK’s coronavirus victims, among them healthcare workers, teachers, councillors, war veterans, diplomats, comedians, musicians, transport workers, engineers and academics.
As of Thursday 28 May, the total number of Covid-19 associated UK deaths had exceeded 37,000. Many were elderly, many had underlying health conditions. But not all of them.
In many cases, family members and medical professionals have been keen to emphasise that the victims have had their lives cut short. Even if they did have underlying health conditions, they would otherwise have been expected to live for many years.
That stark death toll is not just a statistic. Every single one of those included in the count had names, lives, memories and stories to tell. Here are some of them.
Ron Smith, 79
Ron Smith, the father of the Aston Villa head coach, Dean Smith, died four weeks after contracting Covid-19.
club statement read: “The Aston Villa Family are saddened to announce that Ron Smith, the father of our current head coach Dean, has passed away at the age of 79.
“Ron, who had recently been living in a care home after being diagnosed with dementia six years ago, contracted coronavirus four weeks ago and after a short spell in hospital passed away with his family at his side.
“A lifelong supporter, Ron was a steward at Villa Park for many years and passed on his love of the club down to his children.
“As well as being a regular at home games, Ron was also there to witness that greatest of days in May 1982 when Villa lifted the European Cup in Rotterdam.
“The thoughts of everyone at the football club are currently with Dean and his family at this most distressing of times and would kindly ask for the family’s privacy to be respected.”
Andrew Ekene Nwankwo, 46
Nwankwo died after spending five weeks on a ventilator in intensive care. His brother, Tochukwu, said he had tried to buy his own personal protective equipment online. A spokesman for the hospital said there had never been a lack of PPE.
Tochukwu Nwankwo, 45, said his brother first reported coronavirus symptoms on 4 April and self-isolated, but his condition worsened. He was admitted in the early hours of 11 April but never left intensive care.
Paul Nutt, 60
Nutt worked as part of the patient transport service team based at the Wexham Park hospital site in Berkshire. He had also worked as a hospital liaison officer. He leaves behind his wife, Kim, and two daughters, Charlotte and Louise.
Bob Sutcliffe, vehicle and equipment manager at SCAS, said: “Paul had been in the intensive care unit at Wexham Park hospital for the last three weeks battling against Covid-19 and despite all the efforts of the team looking after him, he lost that struggle.
“He was a man who truly lived the SCAS values and, having earlier this year celebrated his 60th birthday in New York with his family, it seems barely believable that such a short time after those joyous celebrations he is no longer with us.”
Liz Spooner, 62
Liz Spooner worked in the same Welsh hospital for 41 years. The health chief told of the “great sadness” felt by her colleagues and friends that coronavirus had claimed her life at Singleton hospital in Swansea, south Wales.
She was a registered nurse in Singleton hospital, mainly working in the coronary care unit and ward nine.
Hospital director Jan Worthing said: “Liz has always given her all, delivering an excellent standard of care. She was well-known throughout Singleton as a fantastic, caring colleague with a dry sense of humour.
“Liz will be sorely missed by us all and leaves a massive hole in the Singleton family.”
Liz, who lived in Swansea, is survived by her daughter Zoe, 31. Worthing said: “Our thoughts are with Liz’s daughter Zoe and her family.” Colleagues paid tribute to “much-loved Liz”.
Safaa Alam, 29
Safaa Alam, 29, worked at Birmingham women’s and children’s NHS trust.
Alam, whose father Mushtaq Afsar also died of Covid-19, was described as an “amazing midwife”. Her “skills and expertise helped to bring hundreds of new lives into the world”, said
the trust’s chief executive, Sarah-Jane Marsh.
In a statement, her husband Shazad said: “Saf was my beautiful and full of life wife.” He added they were childhood sweethearts, who grew up together, and their years together had been filled with “love, fun and adventure”.
Carlos Sia, 62
Sia died in Worcestershire Royal hospital after contracting coronavirus. He leaves behind a wife and a daughter in the UK and three sons in the Philippines. His colleagues described him as “kind, gentle man with a wonderful smile”.
They said they had huge respect for him and loved working with him as he always treated patients with respect, gentleness and care.
In a statement, the trust said: “His quiet, gentle and respectful nature, his generosity of spirit, his sense of humour and his calming influence also made him popular with patients.”
They also said: ‘We have lost a valued member of our trust family – and in Carlos’s case, the word ‘family’ has a special relevance, as his wife, Cindy, works [at the hospital] as a healthcare assistant and his daughter, Clair, is a nurse on our acute stroke unit.”
Lillian Mudzivare, 41
Lillian Mudzivare, who worked as a senior mental health nurse, died following a long battle with coronavirus, the Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS foundation trust said.
Alanzo Smith, 62
The 62-year-old, from Chingford, had been a mental health worker at the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey mental health trust for 22 years before his death.
His twin brother, Spurgeon, a technical demonstrator from Kings Heath, Birmingham, said Alanzo had been in hospital since 14 April after testing positive for Covid-19. “We haven’t stopped crying since,” he told PA Media.
Alanzo migrated from Jamaica at the age of 14 and relocated to Bilston, near Wolverhampton, with his family where he attended the local secondary school.
Norman Austria, 61
Norman Austria worked at the university hospitals of Derby and Burton (UHDB) trust and died at Royal Derby hospital after being treated for coronavirus. Colleagues at the trust said his memory would live on in the song You Are My Sunshine, which he would often be heard singing to calm and reassure patients.
Gavin Boyle, the chief executive of UHDB, said: “Whilst we did not get to work with Norman for very long, he epitomised the trust values and consistently demonstrated care and compassion towards his patients. Nothing was too much trouble, he was always happy to make time to chat with his patients.
“Norman’s energy and smile will be sadly missed by the whole ward and the wider team … our thoughts are with Norman’s family at this sad time.”
Peter Hart, 52
Peter Hart, a former South East Coast ambulance service (SECAmb) paramedic, died on his 52nd birthday. He worked shifts in the emergency department at East Surrey hospital before joining Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS trust full-time in 2017. His family described him as “an amazing husband and dad”.
Karamat Ullah Mirza, 84
Mirza worked at Old Road medical practice in Clacton-on-Sea in Essex. His widow, Estelle, told the
Clacton Gazette: “He was no ordinary man, he was an extraordinary, exceptional and astonishing man, who was absolutely fearless and daring and had enormous knowledge.
“He worked endlessly for the NHS and non-stop for this country, and he was known and loved by everyone in Clacton and he loved all his staff and patients and this town.” She said he had been seeing patients until two weeks ago.
Dr Ed Garratt, the chief executive of the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk, NHS West Suffolk and NHS North East Essex clinical commissioning groups, said: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Dr Mirza, a respected and much-loved GP who had served the patients in his local community for more than four decades.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and practice colleagues, and all our efforts will be focused on supporting them at this difficult time.”
Poornima Nair, 56
Nair, a GP at a practice in County Durham, had been on life support since 27 March having been taken ill two weeks earlier. She is not thought to have had any underlying health issues.
Her practice manager Sarah Westgarth described her as “positive, encouraging and so caring”. She said: “It’s quite unbelievable that seven weeks down the line, as a practice we are having to mourn the death of someone who is so important to us and a real focal point of the surgery.
“I really feel for her family – her mum, husband and son. Her heart was with the NHS and what she could do to help her patients and the staff. She’ll be so missed.”
Rennie, a patient transport service care assistant for the North West ambulance service based in Oldham, contracted Covid-19 and died at Fairfield general hospital, the service’s chief executive, Daren Mochrie, said.
Mochrie said: “Phil leaves his wife Karen, son Adam, and extended family. He has been part of the NWAS family since 2015 and has dedicated his career to serving the public, previously working in local authority and public services.
“Phil was extremely proud to work for NWAS, offering comfort and care to those in need. Our role is a privileged one, we meet people at their most vulnerable, and I am sure there are many people whose lives were touched by Phil during his career.
“We have been supporting Phil’s family during this terrible time and they are in the thoughts of everyone here at NWAS – our deepest sympathies go out to them. Phil will be sorely missed by us all.
“I would like to thank our hospital colleagues in Fairfield general hospital for their care, compassion and professionalism while caring for our friend, and I know they will also feel the loss of a colleague from the NHS family.”
Onyenachi Obasi, 51
Obasi has been described as “a kind, beautiful, loving and well respected person in her community of Barking and Dagenham” by those who set up a crowdfunder for her. The page continues: “Onyenachi was a sweet soul and touched many lives. A lot of hearts are broken in our community.”
It says she contracted coronavirus while at work and died due to complications from the virus.
tribute page has been set up for Olaolorun by her family. It reads: “It is with great sadness that we share the passing of our sweet mother Eyitolami Olaolorun. Known fondly as Aunty Tola, Iya Junior and Iya Nurse.
“She was a strong, hardworking, inspirational woman. A mother to many. She touched and supported the lives of all the people she made contact with.
“She was an excellent paediatric nurse with 40 years of experience. She was caring and compassionate towards all her patients and their families, so much so, that some of them have become part of our extended family.
“Our mother meant the world to us having sacrificed her best years raising four children on her own. She worked tirelessly to ensure we were loved, nurtured and educated.
“The loss of our mother has left us heartbroken. We know that we are not alone in this loss, we share our pain with her siblings, her grandchildren, her extended family, our adopted aunts and uncles, her friends and the many children who she loved dearly.”
Rachel Makombe Chikanda, 67
Chikanda had retired but the Zimbabwean nurse came back to work to assist frontline staff in the fight against the pandemic.
She died at Royal London hospital after spending 21 days on a ventilator. The former Parirenyatwa hospital nurse worked in the field for 47 years before retiring at 65.
The London region of the Royal College of Nursing said: “We are devastated to learn of the deaths of two more members of the nursing family.
“Our hearts go out to the families of Rachel Makombe Chikanda and Eyitolami Olaolorun. We will remember them, and their dedication to their patients and to nursing will not be forgotten.”
Agyei-Mensah worked with patients with learning disabilities for Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS foundation trust (NHFT). He is survived by his wife and four children.
In a statement, his family said: “Augustine was a caring husband and loving father to four children. We are devastated by his loss. He was a dedicated, hard-working and proud NHS worker who will be missed by all who knew him.”
Mukotsanjera moved to the UK from Harare, Zimbabwe, about 18 years ago. She had an undergraduate and master’s degrees in human resource management and worked in a number of care facilities as a mental health support officer.
Buzzfeed reported that she often took on extra shifts to support her daughter and send money back to her family in Zimbabwe, where she also had a 22-year-old son, Shungu.
Tariq Shafi, 61
Shafi was a leading British-Pakistani cancer specialist, originally from Lahore. The King Edward’s Medical College graduate came to the UK in 2007 with his wife, Varda Tariq Shafi, and children.
He worked as a consultant haematologist at Darent Valley hospital in Dartford, Kent. Speaking to Geo News, Shafi’s family called him a martyr (shaheed) who died while fighting Covid-19 to save others and believed that his life was dedicated to treating the needy and sick.
“Tariq passed away in the blessed month of Ramadan in line of duty. Even after he had developed symptoms of corona and isolated at home, he continued to do telephone clinics,” Varda told Geo News.
Resy Manalo, 64
Manalo, 64, moved to the UK from the Philippines in 2006 to work as a carer at County Homes in Birkenhead. She worked as a nursing assistant at the County Homes facility in Woodchurch, Wirral.
The mother of three was admitted to hospital on 26 April after two weeks of feeling unwell with fever-like symptoms. She had been self-isolating at home before calling an ambulance.
McKenna was described as an “all round amazing woman” by those who worked with her at the Whitecraigs care home in Thornliebank, near Glasgow.
Her son Alex Fernie wrote an emotional public post describing his mum as “selfless” and urging everyone to take coronavirus seriously.
He also shared a video on TikTok of her dancing with a 102-year-old resident of the care home Percy Mann.
Ruch, who worked at Basildon ambulance station in Essex, died after being admitted to hospital in April. He worked as a paramedic with EEAS since 2013. He originally came from Vevey in Switzerland and lived in Canvey Island.
Ruch, who had previously worked at London ambulance service from 2006 to 2013, is the second EEAS staff member to die with Covid-19. He had been on a ventilator in intensive care in Basildon hospital.
Paul was a senior speciality doctor and worked at Croydon university hospital for a decade. Moorfields eye hospital NHS trust
said: “[He was] A truly gifted and hard-working doctor, Paul treated patients with a range of conditions including glaucoma and uveitis as well as providing urgent care through our rapid access clinic. Much loved by his patients and colleagues alike, Paul provided an exceptional level of care to his patients, thanks to his warm, reassuring and generous nature.
“Alongside his vital NHS contribution, Paul also worked tirelessly to improve the eye health of people living in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), his home country.”
He was also a church pastor for over 30 years, providing support to those in his local community and in the DRC, organising conferences on issues such as health, marriage and self-empowerment.
David Probert, the chief executive of Moorfields eye hospital, said: “Paul was a much-loved member of the Moorfields family. Through the past decade, he provided an exceptional level of care to his patients. He was incredibly hardworking, kind, gentle and a joy to work with. He will be sorely missed by many and his death is a huge loss to us all. Our thoughts are with Paul’s family and friends at this incredibly difficult and heartbreaking time.”
John Alagos, 23
John Alagos is believed to be the youngest medic in the UK to die from coronavirus. His mother, Gina Gustilo, said her son fell ill during a 12-hour shift but was allegedly not allowed to return home due to short-staffing.
She told the Mail on Sunday: “I asked: ‘Why didn’t you come home?’ He said he had asked other staff but they said they were short of staff and they did not let him go.”
Gustilo described how she then advised her son to take paracetamol, but just minutes later, found him unconscious and “turning blue” in his bed.
A spokeswoman for Watford general hospital described him as “very popular” and said he would be “missed greatly”.
She added: “Our staff are fully briefed on the symptoms of Covid-19 and we would never expect anyone to remain at work if they were showing these symptoms or indeed were unwell in any way.
“We have always kept our staff updated on the latest PPE guidance to make sure they have the right level of protection.”
Mohinder Singh Dhatt, 80
Dhatt is believed to have been one of Slough’s longest-serving GPs. He had been working at the Kumar medical centre in Slough until 28 February this year and previously as a partner at the nearby Langley health centre.
A statement from the clinical commissioning group said: “East Berkshire CCG is very sad to learn of the death of Dr Mohinder Singh Dhatt, one of our longest-standing GPs in Slough.”
York teaching hospital NHS foundation trust said Babiker had been receiving care in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19.
Dr Ed Smith, director of acute, emergency and elderly medicine for Scarborough hospital, said: “Dr Babiker was an extremely energetic, hard-working, approachable and dedicated doctor. He had a wealth of experience that he brought to bear in caring for our patients.
“He was particularly notable for his ‘can-do’ attitude and supportive nature, and was well-liked by patients and staff alike. He will be sorely missed.”
Evelyn Nicolas died after contracting coronavirus. A friend, who set up a fundraising page for the care worker’s family, said: “With a heavy heart I announce the death of my colleague and friend Evelyn Nicolas.
“An amazing health care worker who would do anything to keep a smile on others’ faces. She leaves behind two daughters, her husband, her family and friends in this sad time.”
Confirming Nicolas’s death, the manager at Maypole Grove care home, Arron Breen, said: “We can confirm that one of our colleagues sadly passed away on 14 May. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with their family and friends during this difficult time.”
Jun Terre, 52
Jun Terre worked as part of the nursing team. Buckinghamshire healthcare trust has paid tribute to the “quiet and kind” man, sending their condolences to his wife, who also works for the trust.
In a statement, the trust said: “Jun will be sorely missed by his colleagues, particularly those on ward 7 at Stoke Mandeville where he worked as one of our amazing healthcare assistants.”
Thaung Htaik, 65
Thaung Htaik was a consultant in general medicine at the hospital and is survived by his wife, four children, and three grandchildren.
His family released a statement, saying: “Thaung was a beloved husband, father and grandfather who we will miss greatly. He always put others first and we know just how committed he was to looking after his patients both at this difficult time and throughout his career.
“We would personally like to thank everyone who worked with Thaung, and also everyone who looked after him so well while he was in hospital.”
The head of the Royal Berkshire NHS foundation trust and other colleagues have paid tribute and praised Julie Edward’s wealth of experience and dedication to the job. The chief executive, Steve McManus, said: “We are deeply saddened to report the death of nurse Julie Edward who had worked at the trust since 2017.
“She was a much loved and valued colleague and touched on the lives of many who worked alongside her at the Royal Berkshire hospital. Her kindness and dedication to her job and patients was clear and she will be very sadly missed.”
Peter Gough, 56
The trust said the 56-year-old worked in the gastroenterology and hepatology departments, and before that, supporting neurosciences.
It added: “Peter was a well-liked colleague who was kind and caring. He played an important role in supporting the delivery of seamless patient care through his work in ensuring patient documentation was readily available.”
Habab contracted Covid-19 while working on the frontline of the pandemic, and died in the early hours of 20 May. Known as Jo to his colleagues, he worked at Warrington hospital for 18 years and has been described by staff as a “kind, considerate gentleman who touched so many lives in so many different ways”.
Dr Douval Thompson-Davis, 59
Dr Douval Thompson-Davis, a former science teacher, died on 4 May after testing positive for coronavirus.
Thompson-Davis was born on 16 June 1960 at Homerton hospital in east London and attended Leone preparatory school and Sierra Leone grammar school, both in Freetown, Sierra Leone. He met his wife, Sharon, in London in 1996 and they married in 1997. They had twins, Miah and Savannah, a year later.
He had hoped to become a doctor, studying his PhD at the University of Manchester, but was drawn to teaching. He joined Greenford high school in west London as a science teacher 12 years ago, and was said to have loved his job.
Thompson-Davis was a deeply Christian man who loved a wide range of music and was huge fan of Arsenal football club. He was described as the life of the party by his cousin Ade Daramy, a journalist based in the Gambia.
“He loved family and loved life. He was a fighter and I think the thing I have to say is that everyone who knew him loved him,” Daramy said.
Dr Jean Imrie, 91
Dr Jean Imrie, a retired GP, died on 30 April at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham. “Outside everyone was cheering for the NHS. It was very apt for a retired GP who always went above and beyond for her patients,” Imrie’s daughter Heather said.
The 91-year-old was born in Bakewell, Derbyshire, and went to University of Leeds medical school. Imrie worked as a GP in Settle in North Yorkshire, her husband, Colin, worked as a dentist.
“She would go above and beyond as a doctor. She would invite patients who were lonely round for tea, take them out. She was a very caring doctor,” their daughter said.
Imrie is survived by her daughters Anne, Jill and Heather.
Bryan Thomas Walker, 87
Bryan Thomas Walker died on 25 March, shortly after contracting the coronavirus.
The great-grandfather was a police officer for 30 years with the Warwickshire force and retired to Ellesmere. He returned to the Warwickshire area Henley when his wife became ill. He moved to Stratford-upon-Avon to be closer to his family and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren after his wife died.
“A principled and moral gentleman, who had varying opinions on most subjects, he was always respected by those who knew him,” his family said in a statement.
Thomas Walker survived a triple heart bypass 12 years ago but was sadly and very quickly taken by the Covid19 pandemic, they added. “He will always be remembered and will be forever sadly missed.”
Nonny James, 69
Nonny James, a former BBC radio presenter, died on 1 May after contracting coronavirus.
The 69-year-old presented a weekly evening music show, a Sunday late show and the Sunday breakfast show on BBC Radio Shropshire as well as covering daytime programmes.
She also presented regularly on BBC Hereford and Worcester.
The station paid tribute to her “wicked sense of humour”.
Olume Ivowi, 46, and Isi Ivowi, 38
Olume Ivowi, from Luton, died on 10 April in Luton and Dunstable University hospital leaving behind his wife, Juanetta Ivowi, and their three-year-old daughter, Mireille. His brother Isi Ivowi, who had Down’s syndrome, died nine days later in Milton Keynes General.
The family believe it is likely that they may have contracted Covid-19 from one another as Olume was in regular contact with his younger brother, who lived in supported accommodation in Milton Keynes.
They are survived by their older brother Osi Ivowi, also of Milton Keynes, who recovered from infection, their sister, Ida Ivowi, and their father.
Ida Ivowi, who lives in New York, said: “We are a very close family and as you can imagine this has hit us all incredibly hard but we are determined to celebrate the lives of our brothers and focus on moving forward together as a family.”
Dave Kettle, 77
Dave Kettle was admitted to Birmingham Heartlands hospital on 1 April with worsening breathing problems and a persistent cough, common symptoms for the coronavirus. He tested positive two days later and his health quickly deteriorated. The grandfather-of-six, and father-of-three, died on 4 April.
Kettle was born on 1 January 1943 as one of five children. He married wife, Olive, in 1962 and the couple moved into their home in Gilbertstone Avenue in 1965. They went on to have three sons – Gary, Simon and Ada.
told Birmingham Live: “Dave was a real family man who adored his children and grandchildren, and they loved him, too. He really was at the centre of all our lives and was a true character who never took life too seriously.
“He was very well known in Gilbertstone, Sheldon and Yardley and he touched so many people’s lives. He was a wonderful husband and the house just feels so empty without him.”
More than 250 people lined the streets of Gilbertstone and Yardley to pay farewell to Kettle.
Dave Greenfield, 71
The Stranglers’ keyboard player Dave Greenfield
died on the evening of 3 May at the age of 71 after contracting the coronavirus. Greenfield, originally from Brighton, tested positive for the virus following a prolonged stay in hospital for heart problems.
A long-standing member
of the influential punk band, Greenfield, who is survived by his wife, Pam, was known for his distinctive sound and playing style, using instruments such as the harpsichord and Hammond electric organ.
The Stranglers’ bass player Jean-Jacques Burnel paid tribute to Greenfield as a “musical genius” on the band’s website.
He said: “On the evening of Sunday 3 May, my great friend and longstanding colleague of 45 years, the musical genius that was Dave Greenfield, passed away as one of the victims of the Great Pandemic of 2020. All of us in the worldwide Stranglers’ family grieve and send our sincerest condolences to [his wife] Pam.”
Melvin Gwanzura, 43
Melvin Gwanzura, the former head of psychology at St Charles Catholic sixth form college in Kensington, London, died on 23 April after contracting Covid-19. He was 43.
Gwanzura was described as a devoted teacher and passionate volleyball player who had amassed a wealth of trophies and medals from tournaments around the UK.
Born in Harare, Zimbabwe, he moved to London 20 years ago. He leaves behind a loving family in the UK and in his homeland; his younger brother, his found family of loyal and loving friends, and his devoted partner and soulmate of 15 years.
James Jones, 91
James Jones died at Royal Blackburn hospital last month aged 91 after contracting coronavirus.
Jones grew up brought up in Withnell and left school at the age of 14. He worked as a joiner, working for a number of local employers throughout his life; Nightingale Signs, Boothman’s, Henry Boot Construction, Sheerglaze and Ultraframe.
In a moving tribute sent to the Lancashire Telegraph, his daughter Charlotte Compton said: “He has always been there for everyone; family, neighbours, colleagues, teammates and his many friends.”
Derek George Belmont, 75
Derek George Belmont, 75, died on Saturday 28 March at St Peter’s hospital in Chertsey, Surrey, after contracting coronavirus. The former plumber had lived in Englefield Green his whole life.
Derek had undergone a major heart operation at St George’s hospital, Tooting, at the end of February when Covid-19 was beginning to hit the UK. He was discharged as it was safer to recover at home.
The family were not aware Belmont had contracted coronavirus until the week before his death. “My mum Beryl, myself and and my wife Emma stood in silence as the chaplain told us how calm and accepting of his fate Dad had been. He broke down as he told us Dad just asked about how the weather was, whilst processing the fact he probably wouldn’t live to see another morning,” his son Ryan said.
“He was so selfless towards the end, that stories of his positivity and kindness has been a huge comfort, but we all miss him dearly and feel how this virus has robbed us of a lovely husband, father, grandfather and friend. I hope this story will show that by being selfless and helping others in this terrible time, that we will get through this. Dad taught me that throughout his life.”
Maxine Frieze, 79
Maxine Carol Frieze (née Hughes) born 6 April 1941, in Daglish, Western Australia, died on 26th April, from complications arising from Covid-19, in West Middlesex hospital. Frieze was described as a “beloved wife” and “loved” mother and grandmother. She was a secretary, starting work at The Guild for Undergraduates, University of Western Australia, Perth, where she met her husband Paul. Her last job was with the 737 Chief Pilots team for British Airways. It was the highlight of her career as it allowed her to indulge her love of travel including taking Paul on a surprise birthday trip to New York on Concorde.
Her daughter, Andrée Frieze, said: “She was beloved and she loved us back. She also loved her garden, clothes, a good NZ Sauvignon Blanc (pref Villa Maria), travelling, art, movies and to dance. Most of all she loved my dad, Paul, beyond measure.”
Frieze leaves her husband Paul and children, Anthony and Andrée.
Edna Smith, 86
Smith died on Thursday 23 April at Linden House in Blackburn after contracting coronavirus. The 86-year-old was in the late stages of dementia and had chest infections.
Her grandaughter, Tracey Merrett, told the Lancashire Telegraph: “We were told she was not well on Sunday and on Monday she was OK, but by Tuesday she was in a bad state.
“On Wednesday I got a phone call from the doctor that her breathing was very shallow and that she would not live long.”
Following her grandmother’s death, Merrett started a campaign to donate radios to the care home.
Hamish Wilson, 77
Wilson, who died after contracting the coronavirus, was described as a leading radio producer and “gifted character actor with a lightness of touch”.
Wilson was born in Glasgow in 1942 and studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He graduated and went on to play a number of roles on TV and theatre, including The Borderers (1969), Boy Meets Girls (1969), Adam Smith (1972), and The View from Daniel Pike (1972).
He became Radio Forth arts and drama producer in 1975 before joining the BBC in 1989, where he went on to produce a number of plays and series for Radio Scotland, Radio 3 and Radio 4.
“Though dogged in his work, he was an affable, genial, unassuming man who was happy to help others and enjoyed reading and war-strategy games,” Toby Hadoke
wrote in Herald Scotland.
Laura Turner-Hewitt, 31
Turner-Hewitt is thought to be one of the youngest people in Norfolk to die from coronavirus. The 31-year-old was described as a lovely young woman with “a kind nature who always thought of other people first”.
Turner-Hewitt, who had a learning disability and some underlying health conditions, lived at Bowthorpe community village, an assisted accommodation in Norwich. She was taken to Norfolk and Norwich university hospital on Easter Sunday, where her condition rapidly deteriorated and she died over a week later.
Her mother, Rachel Turner-Hewitt, said: “She lived at home until she was 28 when she was given the opportunity to move into housing with care. She blossomed into an independent, confident young lady.”
She said it was particularly hard to receive her daughter’s belongings from the hospital. “It was so hard not being able to visit her. Every other time she’s been in hospital, I’ve always been with her all through it.”
Earl Dolphy, 71
Dolphy, who was described as an “amazing husband and father”, died on Sunday 19 April after contracting coronavirus. The father of seven’s death came a couple of months after he walked his youngest daughter down the aisle.
The 71-year-old, who lived in Walthamstow, worked for Transport for London as an accomplished engineer and retired after 41 years in 2012.
Before his death he requested a video call with his youngest daughter, in which he told her: “I hope to see you again”. Speaking after his death, she said: “The pain I feel is unreal, there was no way for me to see my father. He will be sincerely missed by all his family and friends.”
Dolphy leaves behind his wife, seven children, and five grandchildren.
Margaret Blyth, 66
Margaret Blyth, known as Margie, died in hospital after contracting coronavirus. The 66-year-old had worked at North East Autism Society for 18 years and was described as a “much-loved and dedicated” colleague.
The charity’s chief executive, John Phillipson, described Blyth as a “local hero”, adding: “In losing her, we have lost a significant member of our team and a friend. We’ve lost one of our own, and she will be greatly missed.”
News of her death coincided with International Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April, with people across the world holding a minute’s silence at 11am to remember health, care and other key workers who have died from coronavirus.
Betty Hill, 72, and Ken Hill, 69
Betty Hill, 72, and her husband Ken, 69, died within 24 hours of each other having contracted the coronavirus virus. The “proud East Enders”, who were together for more than 40 years, were lifelong West Ham fans and described as “local heroes” by the mayor.
Rokhsana Fiaz, the Newham mayor, said: “The couple had been together for 40 years, and were well known to us at the council, because Ken was the secretary of the East Ham branch of the Royal British Legion and we worked with him to organise the annual Remembrance Day event in East Ham’s Central Park.”
West Ham Football Club also paid tribute in a statement. “Ken was a respected member of the club’s supporter advisory board at both grounds, and also a pillar of the local community.
“Both loyal and popular fans, Ken was chairman and Betty served on the committee of the West Ham United Supporters’ Club in Castle Street, Upton Park, where the annual Hammer of the Year award was first presented in 1957-58 and for many years afterwards.”
Henry Kavanagh, 94
Henry Kavanagh, a popular pub owner who has been pulling pints for more than 70 years, died after contracting coronavirus. Kavanagh, described as a “loving” great-grandfather, ran Rostrevor pub Fearon’s, or Henry’s, as it is known by locals.
Kavanagh was born in east Belfast and joined the Merchant Navy during the second world war as a communications officer. He married Bronagh Fearon in 1950 and the couple took over Fearon’s, which had been in Bronagh’s family since 1820.
He kept working after his wife died 25 years ago until the coronavirus pandemic forced pubs to close.
Family friend Damian Goodman
told the Belfast Telegraph: “I kept taking him out on the boats up until the summer of 2018. He was always very active with walking and swimming.
“His grandson Sean and I had driven him down quite recently to look at a boat. At 93 he asked if he could climb on to it. I told him we were only supposed to be looking at it, but he was still trying to get the foot up and it was hilarious. He was great guy, I must say, and an absolute gentlemen.”
Mozadul Hussain, 63
Mozadul Hussain, a father-of-seven, died in Newport after contracting coronavirus. The former Liberal Democrat city councillor was only allowed five people at his funeral.
His son Kamal Hussain
told ITV News: “He was liked by everyone, he left a good impression with anyone he spoke to and was always sharing his knowledge to family and friends.”
“He was a family-orientated man, but he also had a lot of time for his community and he dedicated time to his charities.”
Hussain was one of three of Hussain’s children who attended the “difficult” funeral. He was joined by his cousin and Mr Hussain’s brother-in-law, along with an imam from the mosque.
David Mitchell, 89
Mitchell was a retired music teacher and print maker who campaigned for older people and gay rights. He was a long-standing trustee of Age UK Camden and helped to set up a Opening Doors London, which supports the older LGBT+ community. He was named national trustee of the year in 2016 by the Charity Staff Foundation, and Age UK trustee of the year in 2017.
Mary Burd, the chief executive of Age UK Camden, said: “David was immensely proud of these awards, although in his self-deprecating way, slightly bemused that he had been chosen. We will miss him terribly.”
He died on 4 April. He is survived by David Hass, his husband and partner for 60 years.
Sohrab Baghri, 63
Baghri was a civil engineer, campaigner and charity worker who specialised in supplying water and sanitation projects in developing countries. He was a former adviser to the development charity Plan International at its headquarters in Woking, Surrey. He died on 8 April.
His daughter Linda said he travelled to over 65 countries and worked with several humanitarian charities. She said: “He was a character and believed in standing up for what’s right even if this meant going on a hunger strike. Our dad was a man of principles and stood against injustices.” She added: “Not being able to hold you close before your last breath will really stay with me forever. You were a man of principles with high moral standards. Amongst all the great things you have achieved, you were the best dad and granddad to my children.”
Elsie Hunt, 88
Hunt left school at 16 and combined working for the Inland Revenue with duties as a vicar’s wife. Her son John said his mother “did her share of comforting and consoling in the many urban parishes that my father served in”. She died in Singleton hospital in Swansea on 11 April after contracting coronavirus in a hospice.
John said: “Already gravely ill, Covid-19 robbed her of being consoled by her family in her last days. In the hospice, no one wore masks. Even when mum developed a classic dry cough and fever, and was moved to a single room, staff only wore simple paper masks, and no eye protection. I’m forever grateful for the humanity of the people who cared for her, helping her to FaceTime us, so we could at least be, in some way, together.”
Shirley Ince, 78, and Stephanie Ince, 57
Shirley Ince, a foster mother from Wandsworth, south London, died on 27 March at St George’s hospital in Tooting. Her daughter Stephanie, a former cleaner who had been suffering from cancer, died five days later in the same hospital. Both had tested positive for Covid-19. Shirley had three daughters. Stephanie had three sons. The family suspects that Stephanie contracted the virus at a funeral and may have passed it on to her mother. In a statement they said both women were poorly treated in hospital. It said: “They were both strong women, loving and full of life. They were good people but they were neglected at St George’s.”
Katy and Emma Davis, 37
Children’s nurse, Katy Davis, died at Southampton general hospital on 14 April. Three days later her identical twin sister, Emma, died at the same hospital. Both had tested positive for Covid-19. Their sister, Zoe, said: “They always said they had come into the world together and would go out together as well. There are no words to describe how special they were.”
A former teenage racist who found Islam and spent the last decade of his life as a respected social worker, Islam grew up in the 1960s in Gateshead as John Ord. In 2005 he
recounted to the Guardian how he had joined the British National party as a 16-year-old and assaulted members of the Asian community, actions he looked back on with shame. He became a Muslim after stumbling on a copy of the Qur’an in 1989. Some members of his family stopped talking to him after his conversion. He changed his name and settled in Birmingham, married a primary school teacher from a Pakistani background, and started a degree in social work.
Since 2010 he had worked for Birmingham Children’s Trust, helping young people leaving care. Its chief executive, Andy Couldrick, said he died after suffering with Covid-19 for a few weeks. He said: “Muhammad was a well respected, well liked and highly valued member of our care leavers team who supported many young people in Birmingham.”
Ruth Allen, chief executive of the British Association of Social Workers, said: “Social workers continue to work tirelessly, knocking on doors, delivering vital services out in communities, and thus, like their health colleagues, are at greater personal risk.”
Shahin Shahablou, 56
Shahablou was an
award-winning photojournalist who spent time as a political prisoner in Iran. He fled his homeland in 2011 so he could live as a gay man in London, according to his partner, Kevin Lismore. “He wanted a partner for life,”
Lismore told BuzzFeed. “He kept telling me how he felt like it was destiny that we met each other. That’s the cruellest thing to lose him so soon.”
Shahablou grew up in a close-knit family in Tehran with his five sisters and a brother. He taught photography in Iran and was a board member of the Iranian Photojournalists Association. In the UK his work was exhibited as part of an Amnesty exhibition on the LGBT community. He died on 15 April after 19 days in intensive care.
Rachael Yates, 33
Yates, who worked as a prison officer at Usk prison in Monmouthshire, died on 21 April. Before taking her role at the category C prison, she had worked at the town’s post office. She is the fourth member of prison staff known to have died in the UK after falling ill with Covid-19. A
Facebook post from Usk town council said: “Many of you will remember Rachael and her cheery nature working alongside Jane behind the counter at the old post office in Bridge Street – often in Victorian costume – and some of you may have seen her recently around Usk, where she had been working at Usk prison.” A prison service spokeswoman said: “An officer at HMP Usk sadly passed away on 21 April and our deepest sympathies are with her loved ones and colleagues at this difficult time.”
Birnham Roberts, 82
Roberts used to drive a No 16 bus from Birmingham city centre to Handsworth in the north of the city. After retiring, he took up swimming and tai chi. Roberts, who had diabetes, died from coronavirus at Birmingham city hospital on 18 March. His former passengers were among those who paid tribute. Sara Rhian said: “He used to talk to my four-year-old daughter, telling her to behave for me, as you only ever have one mum and when she’s gone, she’s gone.”
His daughter Cherelle, an agency nurse, spoke of her sadness at not being able to look after him in his final days.
She told ITV: “I just wasn’t with him when he passed. That’s something that was really upsetting to me, but we did what we could and adhered to hospital regulations. I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. From a young age I always told my Dad, ‘I will be there to look after you, I will be that person.’ I’ve just thrown myself into work which has helped me a lot.”
Wally Burgess, 79
Burgess was a campaigner and former Labour councillor based in Islington. The former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn led the tributes, describing him as a dedicated community servant and “
witty raconteur”. He said Wallace “never failed to notice those in need, particular those experiencing housing-related pressures”. He had Alzheimer’s disease and died in an Islington care home after contracting coronavirus. His wife, Janet, deputy leader of Islington council, said her husband was known for his “long, convoluted stories” and “frightful puns”. She added: “This is a sad time for my family and me, but so many wonderful memories.”
Brian Hood, 67
Hood was a former production editor at the Evening Standard known for remaining calm under pressure. He died on 15 April in hospital in Ashford, Kent, after becoming infected with Covid-19 while being treated for cancer. His wife, Alison,
told the Standard: “How can you feel two such intense emotions at the same time: all-consuming sadness at losing him and intense happiness that I was lucky enough to have had this man in my life?”
Hood worked at the paper for 25 years, first as a subeditor, then as production editor of its business pages. He previously worked at the Clitheroe Advertiser, Blackpool Gazette and South China Morning Post. The Standard’s City editor, Jim Armitage, said his former colleague was a “clever man who put up with a lot of mayhem from a chaotic City editor with calm, good grace”. Hood is survived by his wife and two sons.
Alice Kennedy, 83
Kennedy lived in a council block in Kentish Town, north London, for more than 50 years. After retiring from her job at John Lewis, she was chair of the Irish Elderly Advice Network for more than 10 years. She died four days after being admitted to University College hospital, London. Her body was flown to Ireland for the funeral, held in Clonaslee, County Laois.
Tributes came flooding in after news of her death, including from the Irish president, Michael Higgins. Nora Mulready, the head of culture at the advice network, said: “Alice was an incredible ambassador for older people. She challenged – through how she lived her life and how she encouraged others to live – the idea that old people were just on their way out. There is often a sense with older people that they are a recipient of services, they are waiting for someone to give them their dinner or pat them on the head. There was a whole new lease of life that Alice had embraced post-retirement.”
For the past 12 years Kennedy was a leading member of the Irish Pensioners’ Choir. After her death, the choir came together with her friends to
perform a moving tribute for her so that “she wasn’t alone” on her last journey home.
Ruth Abell, 75
The long-serving Scout leader died in Colchester hospital after contracting the coronavirus. She was born in Burnham-on-Crouch, worked as a children’s nurse, and later became a housekeeper at Severalls hospital, where she was responsible for one of the units for people with mental illness, according to
Gazette News. She served the Scout movement for more than 40 years.
Sir Bob Russell, the president of Colchester Scouts, said: “Her whole family was devoted to scouting, with three generations serving as leaders with a combined total service of more than 100 years. Mrs Abell was awarded scouting’s medal of merit and bar in recognition of her dedicated and long service, all of it with the 1st Colchester scout group, where she was Akela to hundreds of cub scouts over more than four decades.”
Maureen and Vic Sharp, both 74
The couple from Fife died from coronavirus within hours of each other. They were both admitted to Victoria hospital in Kirkcaldy on 5 April. Maureen died three days later on 8 April. Vic, a former miner who later worked at Longannet Power Station, died less than 24 hours after his wife.
On the day of their funeral, neighbours, friends and relatives stood outside their homes as their hearses passed through the village they had lived in. Their daughter Yvonne told
the Courier: “After this is all done, we’ve decided that we’re going to have something at the cemetery again and then a big celebration after for them both. They don’t deserve just six people at their funeral.”
Eileen Owen, 94
The retired secretary contracted Covid-19 after being admitted to Glan Clwyd hospital in north Wales following a fall in the street at Rhos-on-Sea, a pre-inquest hearing was told.
The grandmother had suffered a fractured pelvis, but also had bleeding on the brain as she was on the blood-thinning drug warfarin. She died on 13 April. The cause of death was given by the hospital as coronavirus due to traumatic subdural haemorrhage.
Margaret Byron, 86
A former factory worker, she was admitted to Glan Clwyd hospital in north Wales after falling and fracturing her leg at the Sandford care home in Prestatyn. She had undergone an operation and was recuperating when she contracted coronavirus in hospital, a pre-inquest hearing was told. She died on 15 April.
Sue Baskind, 74
Her son, Dr Robert Baskind, told Sky News she was “a very active, very fit, very hospitable, welcoming, beautiful lady.”
A mother of four sons, who had 11 grandchildren, she died on 27 March, four days after being admitted to hospital. She was understood to have had underlying health conditions for several years.
Her son, a consultant psychiatrist for the NHS in Leeds, was forced to watch her funeral via video as he is self-isolating for 12 weeks to protect his wife, who is undergoing treatment for leukaemia.
He said: “Even at the age of 74, we still considered her a young lady. All her four sons, her husband, her 11 grandchildren – she was still supporting us at all the family events.
“It was a massive shock when she suddenly became ill with coronavirus. None of the family was able to visit her during her last days.”
He added: “I never thought I’d be watching my mum’s funeral in that way.”
Ahmed Ismail Hussein, 92
Described as a founding father of modern Somali music, he was known as “Hudeydi” after his grandfather, or “The King of Oud” after the stringed instrument he played.
Born in Somalia, his contribution to music during the anti-colonial and decolonisation period of the country made him a significant cultural figure of that time, said Hanna Ali, director of the London-based Kayd Somali arts organisation.
Margaret Tapley, 84
A healthcare assistant and grandmother who was determined to carry on working despite the risks, she had finished her last hospital shift on 10 April.
Family and colleagues have paid tribute to Tapley, who died at the Great Western hospital in Swindon in the early hours of Sunday, as an inspiration.
Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust said Tapley, who most recently worked in Linfoot Ward at Witney community hospital in Oxfordshire, embodied all that is best about NHS staff.
Her grandson, Tom Wood – who is a senior nurse in an A&E department – said: “She was a huge reason as to why I am a nurse today. She took huge pride in her work but was so humble. She embodied the nursing spirit.
“For anyone who worked with her or knew her, that spirit that we all saw and felt lives on in us.”
The trust’s chief executive, Stuart Bell, described Tapley as “a legend on the ward, and more widely throughout the whole hospital”, and said it was remarkable that she stayed on to support her colleagues for so many years.
He added: “She was also remarkable in the way she provided calm reassurance, support and encouragement to her colleagues, and compassion and care to her patients.
Patrick McManus, 60
A nurse for more than 40 years, he was described as a “well-liked and valued” member of the workforce at the County hospital in Stafford.
Tracy Bullock, the chief executive of the University Hospitals of North Midlands (UHNM) trust said “Patrick was an exceptional leader and took staff and students under his wing. His big Irish personality will be sorely missed by his friends and colleagues at UHNM.
“He was a loveable character and brought kindness and compassion to all his patients which was acknowledged by the number of compliments and thank you messages he received.”
McManus had previously worked at North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary before transferring to Stafford a decade ago.
Joanna Klenczon, 34
A domestic supervisor who had worked at the Northampton General hospital (NGH) for 10 years, colleagues described her as someone who was always prepared to “go the extra mile”.
After she died, on 9 April, a spokesman for the NGH NHS trust said she was “well-liked and respected by everyone she worked with”.
The trust said: “Joanna had worked at NGH for the past 10 years and her colleagues remember her as someone who was courteous, polite, a good organiser and team member who set high standards, and was prepared to go the extra mile.
“Joanna was well-liked and respected by everyone she worked with. Our thoughts are with Joanna’s family at this time and we offer them our sincere condolences.”
Dr Sonia Swart, the chief executive at the trust said: “Joanna touched the lives of so many people at NGH and she will be missed by everyone who knew or worked with her.
“We are offering our support to our staff during this difficult time whilst we all mourn the loss of one of our team members.
“We would ask that the privacy of Joanna’s family, friends and colleagues is respected at this time.”
Salina Shaw, 37
Thirty-seven-year-old Salina Shaw gave birth to her baby daughter just eight days before she died of Covid-19. The childminder and business owner, who was diabetic, was “a force to be reckoned with, a powerful single mum, with fire in her belly and determination”, wrote her cousin in a tribute on Facebook.
Shaw, from Southend in Essex, was vegan, healthy and had followed social distancing guidelines, according to her partner, Abdul Bangura. Weeks before she died Shaw had posted a scan of her baby, her third child, on Facebook, writing on 18 March: “We love u and we can’t wait to meet u 6 weeks to go”, replying to a friend in the comments, she added: “Feeling anxious bringing a child into this mess at the moment.”
Gladys Mujajati, 46
Gladys Mujajati was a mental health nurse, who was working until a few weeks before her death. The 46-year-old from Littleover, Derby, who had an underlying health condition, supported people through the Derby City community mental health team. The science minister and MP for Derby North, Amanda Solloway, described Mujajati’s death as “absolutely heartbreaking”, saying that she was a “well-loved and caring colleague”. Ifti Majid, the chief executive of Derbyshire Healthcare NHS foundation trust, said she was a “warm and caring” individual. “Gladys had a big heart and colleagues have talked about how she always had a smile on her face,” he said. “It is clear that in Gladys we have lost a fantastic nurse, colleague and friend.”
Norman Hunter, 76
Former Leeds United and England footballer Norman Hunter died in hospital aged 76 on 17 April after contracting coronavirus. The man great known as “bite yer legs” made more than 700 appearance in a 15-year first-team career at Elland Road and won 28 England caps between 1965 and 1974. In a
statement, the club said it was “devastated”, and that Hunter had left “a huge hole in the Leeds United family”. Hunter helped win the league title in 1969 and 1974, the FA Cup in 1972, and in 1974 became the first recipient of the Professional Footballers’ Association’s player of the year award. “Norman was a truly great football player,” said former teammate Eddie Gray, while Gary McAllister, a former Leeds captain and manager, said: “In the truest sense of the word he is a legend and he set the levels at Leeds.” Former Leeds midfielder Johnny Giles said his hard-man image was slightly misleading. “Norman was one of the best professionals I ever played with or against,” Giles said. “A top-class individual and one of the most humble people you could ever meet. He was always grateful for what football had given him.”
Derek Wilkie, 57
Derek Wilkie was a retired
firefighter from Nairn, who the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said was a “larger than life personality”. Paying tribute to his 27 years in the fire service, the flag at Inverness fire station will be lowered to half-mast in recognition of his work. The 57-year-old had been in intensive care at Raigmore hospital, Inverness, for two weeks after contracting coronavirus and died on 12 April. Wilkie’s 27-year career as a firefighter included senior roles in Badenoch and Strathspey and Shetland – he was station commander for Inverness and Nairn District before he retired in December 2017. A man devoted to his family, he loved to play golf, cycle, ski and walk, according to former colleagues. Deputy Assistant Chief Officer John MacDonald said Wilkie had been a “diligent and capable” firefighter. “Nothing was ever a problem and he was dedicated to helping others, both the public he served and his colleagues, and was always willing to do whatever was required to deliver a positive outcome,” he said. Both the service and the world are better places as a result of Derek’s contributions, in a life that was tragically cut short when he still had so much to offer.”
Becca Evans, 28
Becca Evans, a keen dancer, died on 9 April at the Royal Glamorgan hospital, after testing positive for Covid-19. Becca Evans and her mother Leigh were forced to leave their Rhondda Cynon Taf home
during Storm Dennis in February. Her friend Jacqui Onions said the family had “lost everything” but had recently moved into a new house, and were starting to get their lives back together when the 28-year-old was admitted to hospital. Her family described her as “beautiful inside and out” and “a selfless young lady with a heart of gold”. She was involved in the girl guiding movement and the Rhondda Polar Bears disabled swimming club. “Everyone she met, she touched their lives in some way and everyone loved her,” said Onions. “She was so widely loved by so many people. I’ve had so many messages from people saying they’ll remember her smile and her willingness to help anybody.”
Rajesh Jayaseelan, 45
Rajesh Jayaseelan was an Uber driver and a father-of-two who died in Northwick Park hospital on April 11 after testing positive for the virus. Jayaseelan, who lived in Harrow, west London, moved to the UK from Bangalore, India, a decade ago and worked as a driver for the ride-hailing app for the last few years. He spoke to his wife and two sons, aged four and six, who live in India, via video calls from his hospital bed before his condition deteriorated . His friend, Sunil Kumar said: “He was very down to earth, always kept to himself, he was very humble and would go out of his way to help people.
Andy Treble, 57
Treble had worked as a theatre assistant at Wrexham Maelor hospital in north Wales for almost 40 years. Colleagues said he was a hardworking, caring and compassionate member of their team. He died on Wednesday after testing positive for Covid-19, a spokesman for the Betsi Cadwaladr University health board said.
His daughter Emily, 17, said: “He was such a lovely man, I’m proud to call him my father.”
His sister, Maria Molloy, described her brother as a “kind man” who dedicated his life to his profession and “always had a smile on his face”.
Josephine Rafferty, 82
Known as Joy to her friends and family, the grandmother and mother of three was one of five residents passed away at a nursing home in Peterhead. Her family said her health had taken a sudden turn for the worse last week.
Her granddaughter Sianan Duncan
told a local newspaper: “She was such a humorous person and would often tell jokes. She was just so kind-hearted, funny and caring.”
Linnette Cruz, 51
A senior head nurse at the Brynteg dental practice in Sketty, Swansea, the married mother of one was described by colleagues as a woman who brought “love, light and joy” to everyone she met.
Cruz, who trained in the Philippines and came to the UK several years ago, died on 14 April after being treated for coronavirus in the intensive care unit at Morriston hospital in Swansea. She leaves a husband, Jeonardy, a son, Jeonard, a sister, Rose, and her parents.
A hospital porter who was known for handing out sweets to his colleagues, he was described as a man for whom nothing was too much trouble. A spokesperson for Mid Cheshire Hospitals said he had died at Leighton hospital after contracting Covid-19.
His wife Ava said: “We were married for 46 years and Brian was a great husband, as well as father and grandfather. He was dedicated to the trust, and as a family we are grateful for and appreciative of all of the kind words and messages we have seen and received.”
Bill Campbell, 86
A former merchant navy engineer who died on Easter Sunday of suspected Covid-19, he had dementia and was being cared for at a nursing home in the village of Bishopton in Renfrewshire, Scotland.
His daughter, Linda Verlaque, told the BBC that he was originally thought to have a chest infection, but developed a cough and high temperature as his condition deteriorated.
She expressed her gratitude that she was allowed in, wearing personal protective equipment, to say goodbye to her father.
Hefin and Valerie Williams
The couple, from Warrington in Cheshire, died of Covid-19 within 11 days of each other. As well as their four children and six grandchildren, they had looked after 26 foster children.
Mrs Williams, 74, reportedly worked as a care assistant looking after the elderly until last year. Her husband was a popular figure in the local community, where he worked as an Asda supermarket assistant, a bingo caller and a hospital helpdesk volunteer.
He was originally from Edern on the Llyn Peninsula in north Wales, while she grew up in Kensington, Liverpool.
Dr Erwin Spannagl, 58
An experienced surgeon who worked in London’s Northwick Park hospital for a decade, he was found dead on 29 March in a flat in Potsdam, Germany, where a postmortem showed he had contracted Covid-19.
Vascular consultant Lorenzo Patrone, who worked alongside Dr Spannagl for more than three years, said he was a “very experienced and tireless colleague, excellent teacher, wonderful person, always happy to run the extra mile for patients”.
He leaves behind two daughters in Germany.
Lore Gordon, 96
Described by her family this week as an “adventurous, positive and loving spirit,” she first came to Britain with her sister in 1939 at the age of 16 as one of thousands of German Jewish children sent through the Kindertransport initiative as Nazi persecution accelerated.
After schooling and a period of internment on the Isle of Man she joined in war effort, working in a factory. She married her husband, Alfred, in 1942 and brought up three children before training as a teacher and working at secondary level for many years, instructing in needlework as well as in English, maths and German.
Later generations would also learn of the wartime efforts of Lore and her husband, who died in 2003, through their recollections on television and also at the Imperial War Museum, which collected
an oral history from her.
She is survived by family members including her daughter Margaret, son Barrie, grandchildren Corrina, Jacob, Joseph and Rosanna, and great-grandchildren Benjamin and Zia, and godson Martin.
Dr Peter Tun, 62
A consultant and father of two who worked as an associate specialist in neurorehabilitation at the Royal Berkshire hospital for more than 21 years, he was described by as a “superhero dad” by his children.
Dr Tun, who died in the intensive care unit at the hospital in Reading studied medicine in Yangon, Myanmar, and worked a research medical officer for the World Health Organization. He then worked as a GP from 1984 in Myanmar, then Burma, before coming to the UK in 1994.
“Our family is immensely proud of our superhero dad,” his sons said in a statement.
“He used to say: ‘Treat all your patients like they are your own family,’ and this speaks to the type of character that he had.
Zauma Ebonja Ekoli, 55
A mother-of-five who worked as an agency nurse at Harrogate district hospital, she was described by her daughter Naomie as “God-fearing, strong, beautiful and caring.”
“It meant everything to be a nurse, she’s being doing it for as long as I remember, more than 30 years,” she said.
Jill Foster, chief nurse at Harrogate and district NHS foundation trust, said Ekoli, known as Josie, was a “much-valued” member of staff who had worked with the trust for the past two years.
Ade Raymond, 48
A first-year student mental health nurse who studied at Middlesex University in Hendon, Raymond had been working part-time as healthcare assistant.
Colleagues at Barnet, Enfield and Haringey mental health trust, which confirmed on Wednesday that he died after contracting the virus, paid tribute to “a much valued member of the team”.
Others described him as “compassionate, intelligent and inspirational”.
Rahima Bibi Sidhanee, 69
Sidhanee, a care home nurse who died on Sunday after being admitted to hospital a week before, worked at a nursing home in south London for more than 30 years, where colleagues described her as a “wonderful human being”.
Described as the mainstay in recent years of the care home’s night staff, she had trained at Edgware general hospital in the 1970s and was also a registered nurse and midwife with nearly 50 years’ experience.
The operators of the Grennell Lodge nursing home in Sutton, south London, said she was “a person of extreme kindness, selflessness and impeccable loyalty and integrity”.
“Rahima loved nursing and the people she cared for, their happiness was of great importance to her and she would go above and beyond in her delivery of care,” Care Unlimited said in a statement.
Residents also spoke highly of the veteran nurse, who was known for her calmness, as well as for being an excellent cook who made Caribbean and Indian food for those at the home.
Elsie Sazuze, 44
The nurse, from Birmingham, worked at a Staffordshire nursing home and was described by a friend as “dedicated to helping people”.
After falling sick at home, she was taken to Good Hope hospital in Sutton Coldfield where she died on 8 April, leaving behind her husband Ken, a 22-year-old son and a daughter aged 16.
Originally from Malawi, she had trained and worked at New Cross hospital in Wolverhampton and was employed by the Wolverhampton-based care agency Totally Care.
A childhood friend, William Fungatira, said: “Elsie was a naturally quiet person but very caring, friendly, cheerful and resilient. She had a passion to always help others. She was dedicated to helping people.”
Barbara West, 64
West, a Londoner with Down’s syndrome, was described by family as being a “character” who had lived a “full and good life”. She died in hospital on 4 April.
In recent years she had lived in supported accommodation in west London, and had coped with Alzheimer’s.
Her sister, Frances, spoke fondly of West’s past hobbies, including drumming and bowling, and said she had learned a lot from the woman she called “Barbie”.
“Growing up in London, sometimes other children were discouraged from playing with us – people even crossed the road when they saw us coming as they misunderstood her condition,” she recalled.
Decades later, however, Frances was sure many people would have attended her popular sister’s funeral, had social distancing measures allowed.
“She had a full set of drums, which she greatly enjoyed playing up until a few years ago when the Alzheimer’s really started to kick in. She did have a knack for a beat and if things had been different, she would have been a rock star,” she said.
“She loved the limelight, often taking the mic and talking or singing in her own way at get-togethers.”
Rabbi Avrohom Pinter
A rabbi who commanded respect far beyond the strictly Orthodox Jewish community in Stamford Hill, north London, that he served, Pinter died after being admitted to hospital.
A longtime member of the Labour party and a former local councillor, he was also the principal of a Jewish girls’ school and an unofficial spokesman of Europe’s biggest ultra-Orthodox community.
Tributes were paid by communal and political figures. Marie van der Zyl, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “Rabbi Pinter was a much loved figure across the community, building bridges between different groups of Jews, government and wider UK society.”
spoke to the Guardian three weeks ago about claims that guidance on social distancing was not being followed in some pockets of the ultra-Orthodox community in Stamford Hill.
Bassodeo Rambojun, 85
A former Royal Mail worker who was honoured by the Queen for his 25 years of service, Rambojun lived in Shepherd’s Bush, west London.
A father of three girls and grandfather to six children, he was admitted to hospital in March after a fall but died on 3 April after contracting Covid-19.
He came to the UK from Mauritius as a student, studying at Queen Mary University of London, and working in restaurants to help pay his bills before getting married.
His daughter Devita Michael recalled his love of holidays at the English seaside, and picnics in Richmond Park watching the deer.
“We had so many plans with him this year and to lose him to this horrid virus is just unbearable to us as a family. Dad and Mum should have been celebrating 50 years of marriage this year, and then there is Christmas, this will be the toughest for us all as Dad loved Christmas, it was his absolute favourite.”
Gerry McHugh, 58
A maths teacher at Notre Dame High in Greenock, west of Glasgow, pupils and other members of the school community have been posting red-themed images in honour of the lifelong Manchester United fan under the social media hashtag #redforgerry.
The popular teacher, who died on 11 April, was described by the Notre Dame headteacher, Kate Couttie, as a “true gentleman” who other staff looked to as a rich source of experience and knowledge.
“Pupils at Notre Dame High school loved learning mathematics because of him. Gerry had a kind word for everyone he spoke to, he was also funny, committed and caring in everything he did for our school,” she added.
Among those paying tribute to McHugh was the Greenock boxer Rhys McCole, who posted an image of himself with a red boxing glove and described his former teacher as a “great man” who encouraged everyone around him.
Stuart Goodman, 72
A former Fleet Street photojournalist who worked and freelanced for titles including, in the 1980s, the Guardian, Goodman published his first book a week before he died on 2 April.
After growing up in Hackney, east London, he went into photojournalism and worked on Fleet Street for more than 20 years. In the early 1990s he moved to Norfolk, where he taught photography and did an MA in fine art.
In the few weeks before his death, Goodman had released
One Saturday in 82 on Broadway Market, a collection of black and white photos chronicling the lives of shoppers and shop owners on the east London market.
It also features an account of his and others’ role in setting up a community initiative to save the market from demolition, and his recollections of east London before gentrification.
Goodman’s daughter, Jo, described him as a “larger than life character with incredible wit and warmth which meant he was much loved by all who met him”. He is also survived by his wife, Annie, and son, Adam.
Rowson’s death was announced by Nottingham Forest football club, where he had worked for 10 years as part of their matchday security team. In a statement posted on Twitter, the club said they were “devastated” to confirm he had passed away “after a battle with coronavirus”.
The former Nottingham Forest player Guy Moussi paid tribute to Rowson: “We lost a true gentleman and a legend in my eyes by his kindness and humility.”
Carol Jamabo, 56
Jamabo, a carer who worked for Cherish Elderly Care in Bury, moved to the UK from Nigeria in the early 1990s and had been a key worker for more than 25 years. She had previously worked in the prison service, as well as being an NHS administrator at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital in London. She had moved to Bury to be closer to her two children, Tonye Selema, 25, and Abiye Selema, 22.
Jamabo died in hospital on 1 April, a week after she fell ill with suspected Covid-19. Her youngest son has since tested positive for the virus.
Ryan Storrie, 40
Storrie had been living in Dubai but returned to Scotland with his wife and two sons last month to celebrate his birthday and watch the Rangers v Bayer Leverkusen Europa League match.
After flight restrictions to curb the spread of the virus in the UK were put in place, the family were unable to return to Dubai and rented an apartment in Glasgow where Storrie died on 31 March.
Oscar King Jr, 45
The Filipino hospital porter died on 11 April after contracting Covid-19. On a fundraiser page to support his family members, he was described as a “loving husband” as well as a “devoted father” to his 10-year-old daughter.
King Jr had worked at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford for more than 10 years, “always doing his job with great enthusiasm and joy”. His wife is also believed to have been taken to hospital with severe symptoms of the virus.
Rico, who was also Filipino and a colleague of King Jr’s, died on 10 April from suspected coronavirus. He was a father and a husband who had been working as a porter at the John Radcliffe hospital since he arrived in the UK in 2004.
A fundraiser set up by his daughter Carla Rico, said: “He was always working and would prioritise other’s needs firsts. “He would walk around the hospital with a smile on his face and very rarely would he call in sick from work.”
Tim Brooke-Taylor, 79
Tributes poured in for
Brooke-Taylor, a much-admired fixture of British comedy for five decades who became a household name as one third of The Goodies.
He died on 12 April. His fellow Goodie Graeme Garden said he was “terribly saddened” by the loss of someone who had been a close colleague and friend for more than 50 years. The comedian Ross Noble
tweeted: “So sorry to hear that Tim Brooke-Taylor has passed away. He was such a lovely funny man. I watched him as a kid and it was always a thrill to work with him.”
Smith, a plaster technician, had worked at Doncaster Royal Infirmary for over 35 years. Announcing the death of Smith, known as “Kev” to his friends,
Richard Parker, chief executive at Doncaster and Bassetlaw teaching hospitals, said he was a well-respected and hugely popular member of the team, who “was renowned for his warm personality, diligence and compassion. I am incredibly thankful to colleagues who cared for Kevin, and for their tireless efforts during this time.”
Campbell, who worked at the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff, was described by colleagues as a “beautiful, kind-hearted friend”. She had worked at the cancer centre for many years, initially as a volunteer. Velindre university NHS trust said: “She was often found singing and dancing, entertaining patients and staff, making everyone smile. Donna will always have a special place in our hearts and we will all want to send our heartfelt sympathy and love to her family at this very difficult time.” The trust said she died at University Hospital Wales on 10 April.
The death of Trollope, a matron for older adult mental health services in Hillingdon, west London, was announced on 11 April.
She was praised for her empathy and support for older people with dementia. Paying tribute to the mother-of-four, medical director Dr Paul Hopper said: “Sara had that unbeatable combination of kindness, selflessness and total determination to get things right for patients. She was an example to every one of us.”
Julie Omar, 52
A highly experienced trauma and orthopaedic nurse, Omar was working at at Redditch’s Alexandra hospital. She had been self-isolating at home, Worcestershire acute hospitals NHS trust said. Her condition deteriorated and she died at home.
The trust’s chief executive, Matthew Hopkins, said: “It is with great sorrow that I have to share with you the sad news that a much-loved member of our nursing team – Julie Omar – has died.” She was married to husband, Laith, and had a daughter.
Roberts had been at a nurse since the 1980s, Cardiff and Vale health board said. He briefly retired in December 2014 but then resumed work.
He was described as an “old school nurse” who was caring, “extremely popular, fun-filled and well-liked”. Staff said he was a “kind and helpful person”.
He is survived by his wife, son and grandson. The health board said Roberts died at the Prince Charles hospital in Merthyr Tydfil.
Emma Clarke, 35
The “much loved and gifted” science teacher, who taught at Ormiston Bolingbroke academy in Runcorn, Cheshire, died on 9 April. In a
letter to parents its principal, Tony Rawdin, said: “Emma was one of those people who everyone liked. She was a brilliant science teacher and very popular with her pupils, not least her year 11 tutor group, and her colleagues.”
According to her LinkedIn profile, the former University of Leicester and Liverpool Hope University student had worked at the academy since September 2017 and had previously been employed as a research chemist for about 10 years.
Fred Vose, 81
Vose was a classified sales advertising manager who had worked for several newspaper publishers, including the Independent group, before his retirement. He began working in advertising after serving in the RAF.
When he started showing symptoms of coronavirus he moved into a spare bedroom to protect his wife, Mary, who suffers from the lung disease COPD. When his condition deteriorated he was taken to Queen’s hospital, Romford, where he died on 31 March. He is survived by his wife, two sons and four grandchildren.
His oldest friend, Robert Flain, said: “He was the best man at our wedding and whenever I needed someone to talk to he was there. If I needed help in any way he was there; when I needed telling I was behaving like an ass he was there. He was one of life’s true gentlemen. I shall miss my buddy.”
Alan Simmons, 83
Simmons was a lawyer at Devereux Chambers, London, who later served for many years as a judge on south-eastern circuit. He died at London’s Royal Free hospital on 7 April. His family suspects he caught coronavirus while visiting his wife, Mia, in hospital.
His son Richard fondly recalls how he combined law with childcare at their home in Finchley, north London. “I remember his early morning work routine, hours before he had to take my sister and I to school, a sprawl of red-ribboned papers and reel-to-reel tape to record the notes and speeches for his cases.”
He added: “After retirement my parents moved to St John’s Wood, where they were popular figures in the village, and in the synagogue where they had been married 60 years ago.”
He is survived by his wife, two children and two grandchildren.
Barbara Moore, 54
Hailed as an unsung hero, Moore was a patient discharge planner at Aintree university hospital. She died on 6 April after testing positive for coronavirus, Liverpool university hospitals confirmed. Chief nurse Dianne Brown said: “Barbara’s loss is an awful blow to us all, and she will be missed so much by all of her colleagues. Moore was responsible for making arrangements to allow patients to safely leave hospital. She joined the hospital team after spending most of her career as a care worker for people with disabilities. A spokesman for her family said: “Barbara dedicated her life to caring for others and doted on her two beautiful children and grandchildren.”
Nazir Awan, 68
A leading Birmingham businessman and founder of the Institute of Asian Businesses. As the chief executive of the property firm Awan Real Estate he amassed an estimated fortune of £22m. He died on 8 April at Birmingham’s Good Hope hospital. He leaves a widow, daughter, son and six grandchildren. A family statement said: “We are devastated by the loss of a much-loved member of our family, where we regarded him as a patriarch. He was a valued business partner and an important member of the Asian and business community in greater Birmingham.
His nephew, Waheed Saleem, assistant police and crime commissioner for the West Midlands said: “He was a true gentleman and I will cherish his words of wisdom.”
Sami Shousha, 79
A British-Egyptian doctor who died on 26 March two weeks after contracting the virus. He specialised in histopathology, or diseases of the tissue, and trained at the Royal Free hospital and London’s School of Medicine. He worked for more than 40 years at Charing Cross hospital since 1978, where he managed the breast histopathology service. Speaking to
Middle East Eye, his nephew Abdelrahman Shousha said: “He was very keen on going to work on his final days despite the health hazards. However, most likely, his work did not involve direct contact with Covid-19 patients.” He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Fayez Ayache, 76
Dr Ayache had retired as GP at Suffolk’s Constable country medical practice, but he had been working part time as a GP in North Clacton, Essex. He had volunteered to help refugees from his native Syria. He died on 8 April after being diagnosed with pneumonia and Covid-19. He trained as a doctor in Syria and moved to the UK in 1973. Dr Sharif K Al-Ghazal, a consultant plastic surgeon at Bradford Royal Infirmary, paid tribute on behalf of the Syrian British Medical Society. He said: “Dr Fayez was a kind-hearted man who always went out of his way to assist his patients, even at great personal cost. He was loved by many; and more recently over the last few years has tended to the needs of newly arrived Syrian refugees.” His daughters Layla and Katie said: “He was the most kind-hearted, loving, generous and caring man we knew and he was an incredible and amazing doctor having worked as a GP, ENT consultant and surgeon in the NHS and private sector for over 40 years. We are truly devastated and will miss him dearly, he was a true foundation in our lives.”
Syed Zishan Haider, 79
Described “a selfless and compassionate doctor”, Haider had worked for over 50 years. As a practicing GP, he was committed to serving his community in Barking and Dagenham, where he was a senior partner at Valence Medical Centre. He also worked as a senior homeopathic physician at the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine for over 30 years. His daughter Samina said: “His dedication to help people everywhere, be it professionally or personally was unwavering. We are truly astounded as to how many people have reached out to share a story of his kindness, and continue to receive touching tributes from colleagues, patients, friends and family alike.” She added: “He was a loving, cheerful and dedicated husband, father and grandfather. We are left with a void that can never be filled. We would like to pay tribute to all the NHS staff who treated him, and those risking their health in all areas of front line services.”
Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, 53
Chowdhury, a consultant urologist at Homerton hospital in east London, had pleaded with the prime minister for better PPE to protect frontline health workers from coronavirus. He died after spending 15 days in Queen’s hospital, Romford. In a letter to Boris Johnson, posted on Facebook, he wrote: “Please ensure urgently PPE for each and every NHS health worker.” It also called for Covid-19 testing to be fast-tracked for health workers. The Muslim Doctors’ Association said it was “deeply saddened” by his death.
In a Facebook post it said he left behind a wife and two children.
Edmond Adedeji, 62
A “respected and well-liked” A&E doctor who died on 8 April at Great Western hospital in Swindon, where he worked. A statement from his family said: “He died doing a job he loved, serving others before himself. He leaves behind a wife, three children and three grandchildren.” Kevin McNamara, chief executive of the local NHS trust, said: “Dr Adedeji had worked with us as a locum registrar in the emergency department since August 2019 and was a respected and well-liked member of the team. He was being cared for in the intensive care unit having tested positive for Covid-19. I would like to extend our sincere condolences to Edmond’s family.”
Janice Graham, 58
Graham was a healthcare support worker and district nurse. When she died on 6 April at Inverclyde Royal hospital, she was believed to be the first NHS worker to die in Scotland from coronavirus. Speaking to STV News, her son, Craig, said: “I am so proud of her and there will not be a day that goes by that I will not think about her.” Louise Long, chief officer of Inverclyde Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Janice was a valued team member in our district nursing and evening services team and brought kindness and compassion to patients and colleagues.”
Nadir Nur, 48
Many of those who have contracted Covid-19 caught the infection while continuing to work on the transport network. Nur was one such person. He drove a No 394 bus in Hackney, north London. He died in hospital on 2 April. He is survived by a wife and five children, including a 10-month-old daughter, Sahra. His wife, Bishara, described her husband as a “hero on the frontline helping healthcare workers to hospitals”. She added that he was a “loving, kind, caring, helpful person who everybody loved” and that bus drivers needed further protection to prevent any more loss of life among transport staff during the pandemic.
Alan McGahan, 76
McGahan was described as a vibrant and enthusiastic father and successful businessman. He was admitted to Epsom General hospital with suspected Covid-19 on 26 March and died four days later. His son, Matt, has set up a charity, Mask Our Heroes, in memory of his father to raise money for personal protective equipment for frontline NHS staff.
Described as a “legendary” figure on the Bristol transport system, Egan had worked on the city’s buses for 40 years. He died on 28 March after falling ill with Covid-19 two weeks earlier. James Freeman, managing director for First West of England bus company, paid tribute to a “tremendously loyal employee and great character”.
Kenneth Yeboah, 55
Yeboah, a bus driver for Tower Transit who was also a deacon in his local church in Dagenham, died from coronavirus on his birthday, 1 April, in Newham hospital in east London. His widow, Charlotte, said that a couple of days before he fell ill her husband had been “lively and bubbly” while on stage leading a service in his church. She stressed that when he was taken into hospital he was not suffering any major underlying health issues other than high blood pressure. One of his pastors at his church, Micheal de Heer, said Yeboah had been a stalwart in the congregation for more than 20 years, who helped out at a local food bank. “Nobody could doubt the man. He was a kind, friendly person who would speak to everyone. People would look to him always for support,” his pastor added.
A London bus driver for the Go Ahead Bus company, Silva died on 3 April. A company spokesman described him as a “dedicated and popular member of our Waterside Way team”.
Emeka Nyack Ihenacho, 36
The bus driver from Highgate, north London, worked for Metroline. He died on 4 April. Ihenacho, who had a seven-year-old son, drove his bus through the streets of Islington and was based at the Holloway depot. His mother Anne said she had begged him not to go to work a few days before he fell ill with the virus. She said: “He made friends very easily, he would talk to anybody. He always enjoyed spending time with myself and his sister, and we would watch movies and Love Island. He was a wicked joker. He had a nickname for everybody he met.”
Originally from Accra in Ghana, Aheto worked as a garage supervisor for Metroline at its Willesden depot in north-west London. As well as being a devoted Christian, he had recently helped to organise a petition against knife crime in London.
The father of three was a Transport For London worker and described as an exceptional individual who had a heart of gold. According to friends, he was a religious man who always looked out for others around him. They said: “The saying ‘wouldn’t hurt a fly’ is an understatement when it comes to Mohammud. He gave 100% in work and outside of work, he was a loving, caring and devoted father, religiously intellectual, and well respected within his local community.”
Eleanor and Eileen Andrews, 66
The twin sisters from Abercynon in south Wales died within days of each other after contracting coronavirus, according to their family. Eleanor and Eileen are believed to have contracted the virus at the home they shared. Eleanor’s son Stuart said his mother was the first to show symptoms and died on 29 March. Four days later her sister Eileen passed away after being admitted to hospital. Both sisters had underlying health conditions. Eleanor’s daughter-in-law Janice said: “We feel as if we’re in a horror film or a nightmare and someone is going to wake us up.”
Umar Afzal, 71
Afzal was a broadcaster and certified interpreter who specialised in translating Urdu and Pashto into English. He had a weekly show on south Asian TV and radio channels. He was passionate about children of Pathan immigrants learning Pashto, according to his younger brother Nazir Afzal, the former chief crown prosecutor for north-west England. He said: “I remember his ability to reduce stress and conflict with ease. His joy at life. For being my friend, not just my brother.”
Nazir believes his brother contracted coronavirus during a visit to their 91-year-old mother while she was being treated for pneumonia at Birmingham’s Heartlands hospital. After testing positive, he was told to remain at home as he had no underlying health conditions, Nazir told the Guardian. He tweeted that the government was substantially
underreporting Covid-19 deaths that occur in homes and care homes. Umar appeared to be improving but died at home on 8 April.
Chloe Middleton, 21
Chloe was a care home worker from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. She had been self-isolating for 10 days after showing signs of the virus. She had no serious health problems but was mildly asthmatic,
her family told the Mirror. When she suffered breathing difficulties on 19 March, visiting paramedics told her to rest at home. Later that day she suffered a heart attack. A second ambulance crew arrived too late to save her. Covid-19 was cited as the cause of her death. Her parents said: “She was a beautiful, caring, spirited young lady who could light up any room with her gorgeous smile and infectious laugh. She will be for ever in our hearts.”
Shabnum Sadiq, 39
The Labour councillor and mother of five died after spending 24 days on a ventilator in Pakistan. She fell ill five days into a visit for a wedding.
Haqeeq Dar, a fellow Slough borough councillor, said: “She only went on a short eight-day trip. But she never came back. I just can’t believe that she’s gone.” Flags on Slough town hall and the local council officer were flown at half mast as a tribute. Madhuri Bedi, another fellow councillor, said she was feeling “immense heartbreak” for “her, her children, her husband and loved ones”.
John Moore, 96
Moore was a Lancaster bomber pilot during the second world war who survived a crash landing that killed two of his crew. He was born in Liverpool as one of eight children, with a twin brother, and he joked that he signed up for the RAF to escape the Liverpool blitz.
He said he was “let off” his last three missions after his 27th mission ended in tragedy, according to transcripts of interviews shared with
Wales Online. He was forced to bring the plane down in the Lincolnshire countryside after losing power in one of the engines.
Moore retired to the village of Aberthin, south Wales, with his late wife, Mary, after a career working with disadvantaged teenagers in Cardiff.
After he died of coronavirus at Bridgend’s Princess of Wales hospital, residents of Aberthin placed candles in their windows as a tribute. Friends said he was an inspiration to all who knew him.
Rebecca Mack, 29
Mack, a nurse from Morpeth in Northumberland, is one of the youngest health workers to have died from coronavirus. She had recently taken up a role for the NHS 111 service after a stint as a children’s nurse at Newcastle Royal Infirmary. Mack, who had no health problems, fell ill after a work training session in Derby. She was self-isolating alone at her home when her symptoms worsened. Mack called for an ambulance and left the door open for paramedics. They found her dead in her home, her mother
Marion told the Newcastle Chronicle. She said: “We couldn’t have wished for a nicer daughter. She was so caring. She was just the light of our lives. I can’t even begin to imagine life without her.”
“She could make kids smile when they were that far down,” said the mother of a boy whom Mack nursed when he had leukemia.
Dr Sebastianpillai, a consultant geriatrician, died in Kingston Hospital just over two weeks after completing his last shift there. He is reported to have come out of retirement to help the hospital tackle coronavirus. Sebastianpillai, who was in his 70s, died on 4 April, four days being admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit.
He qualified as a doctor at the Peradeniya medical school in his native Sri Lanka and later wrote an illustrated history of the island.
The school praised his “
brave commitment to the serve the NHS”. Dr Thusiyan Nandakumar, a fellow Tamil working in the NHS,
tweeted: “Dr Sebastianpillai put himself at risk to help save others. A remarkably courageous and selfless role model.”
Leonard Read, 95
A legendary Scotland Yard detective best known for bringing the Kray twins to book in 1969. Known as “Nipper” because of his height, Read was widely respected even among the organised criminals whom he pursued. The Krays named a pet boa constrictor Read in honour of their pursuer.
Born in Nottingham, Read served in the Royal Navy and joined the Metropolitan police after the war. He rose through the ranks to become part of the team that solved the 1963 Great Train Robbery. In 1967 he led the investigation into organised crime in London’s East End that eventually led to murder convictions of Ronnie and Reggie Kray. After leaving policing, he became the chair and then president of the British Boxing Board of Control.
John Grieve, a former deputy assistant commissioner of the Met, described Read as an inspiration to a generation of detectives and “a paradigm of what a dedicated detective should be”. His brother-in-law Dave Allen said Read had been admitted to hospital for a foot infection. He then contracted coronavirus.
Alice Kit Tak Ong, 70
Ong had been a nurse in the NHS her whole working life, having arrived in the UK from Hong Kong to study nursing in the early 1970s. Ong spent time as a midwife and later as a diabetic specialist nurse. For the past 20 years she worked in the community. She was still working full-time across two surgeries and running baby clinics when she fell ill with the coronavirus.
On 7 April, two weeks after she was admitted to hospital, the 70-year-old died at the Royal Free hospital in London. At the end of her life her family were unable to visit because of the risk of infection to her husband, Marcus.
Her daughter Melissa Ong, 37, said her mother had spent her life helping and caring for others. “She was completely dedicated to her work, that’s what she was doing until the moment she was taken ill,” she said. “She loved her job and she loved her patients.” She would be deeply missed by everyone who knew her, and the family had been inundated with messages of condolence and love. “She had a very good heart and very generous personality. Everybody loved her.”
Jitendra Rathod, 62
Rathod was an experienced and admired heart surgeon and is thought to be the first health worker in Wales to die after a Covid-19 diagnosis. A father of two, he died on 6 April at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, where he was an associate specialist in cardiothoracic surgery.
The Cardiff and Vale University health board said he had worked in the cardiothoracic surgery department since the mid-1990s. “He was an incredibly dedicated surgeon who cared deeply for his patients,” the board said. “He was well liked and greatly respected by one and all. He was a very compassionate and a wonderful human being.”
The Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford, paid tribute to Rathod, while the former Welsh Conservative party leader Andrew RT Davies said: “He was highly regarded in the medical profession in Wales. My thoughts with his wife and two sons.”
Liz Glanister, 68
Glanister was a “long-serving” nurse at Aintree University hospital in Liverpool. After her death on 3 April at the hospital flags were flown at half-mast in the city and its three civic buildings were lit up in blue in honour of the keen Everton FC supporter.
“Words cannot express how much a debt of gratitude this city owes to Liz Glanister and her colleagues,” said Liverpool’s mayor, Joe Anderson. Glanister had “dedicated her life to caring for others and in the true spirit of this city she gave everything she had to make a difference at such a crucial time,” he added.
Dianne Brown, the chief nurse at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS foundation trust, said Glanister would be “sadly missed by all those who knew and worked with her”. Jayne O’Toole, who met the nurse during chemotherapy after having a brain tumour removed, said the pair bonded over their shared love of Everton FC. “Liz looked after me, she was just amazing and had such warmth about her,” she said. “During my darkest days, we were always laughing.”
Bishop Theophilus Augustus McCalla, 86
Theophilus Augustus McCalla MBE was founder and bishop of the Church of God of Prophecy in the West Midlands. After being ill for two weeks, the 86-year-old – who had underlying health conditions, including diabetes – died in hospital on 2 April from the coronavirus.
McCalla founded the Nehemiah United Churches Housing Association in 1989, which provides accommodation for people from the African-Caribbean community. In tribute to his work, the McCalla House retirement scheme was named after him. Those who knew him paid tribute to a “man of God”.
Prof Doreen McCalla, Bishop McCalla’s niece, told Black Country Live that he was “extremely witty and very funny”. She said: “He often cracked jokes … He didn’t mind laughing at himself. He was a people person, he was straight-talking and honest. Always good with advice. He loved God and loved people.” Darren Blackwood, from Birmingham, said: “Bishop McCalla … you have gone on before us a true soldier. Over the years I have grown to admire and respect you.”
Bishop Horatio Fearon, 80s
Horatio Fearon, part of the Windrush generation, helped establish the first Midlands branch of the Church of God of Prophecy in the late 1950s. For four years in the late 1970s, he was the pastor of Jubilee Christian Centre. His son Kevin became a director at Nehemiah United Churches Housing Association.
Paying tribute to bishops Fearon and McCalla, Nehemiah Housing Association’s chief executive, Llewellyn Graham, described them as “giants of their generation, known and loved by many around the communities in which they served”. He added: “Throughout their time they played a significant part in shaping what is modern BAME housing associations in the West Midlands. Yet precisely because many of the battles they fought for the BAME community, the Windrush generation, occurred back in the early 80s, there are many today who are unaware of the role both Bishop McCalla and Bishop Fearon played in creating a culture that we now take for granted.”
Mohammed Nehman, 36
Nehman was a Birmingham bus driver who worked for National Express West Midlands for 11 years and was hailed as a “loving, caring and bright person”. Nehman, who had two sons, aged 11 and six, and an 11-month-old daughter, had been self-isolating at his home in Alum Rock in the city after falling ill with symptoms of Covid-19. He died on 5 April.
He was a much-loved member of the community, his younger brother Arbab Ali said. “When people would come on the bus, he would have friendly conversations with them. He would slow down for them if they were running for the bus. He used to talk to them as a friend and they have all said they have lost a friend.” Nehman “knew the importance of making sure other members of the public can get to work, in particular NHS staff and doctors”, his brother added. “He took great caution when it came to work, however even after all the precautionary measures, Nehman was unable to avoid Covid-19.”
In his final weeks he had isolated himself from his children to protect them, and had not been able to hug them in the last two weeks. “In my last conversation with Nehman he asked me to buy face masks so that he could give them to his co-workers and friends at work,” said Ali. “This conversation sums up the loving, kind and selfless person [he] was.” His family is
raising money in his memory to build hand-pumps and water wells in villages across the world without access to clean drinking water.
Catherine Sweeney, 64
Sweeney dedicated herself to helping others as a home carer for 20 years. It is thought that she became the first Scottish care worker to die of coronavirus after she passed away on 6 April at the Royal Alexandra hospital in Paisley.
Born and raised in Dumbarton and well-known in the local community, the 64-year-old was due to retire from her job with West Dunbartonshire council next year.
Her family thanked the doctors and nurses at the Royal Alexandra and remembered a “wonderful mother, sister, and beloved aunty”. They said: “She was a caring and generous person, especially when it came to her time, having dedicated over 20 years of her life as a home carer to unfailing serving the needs of the most vulnerable in society. After a lifetime of service to the community, we know she will be sorely missed, not just by her loving family, but by many others for her incredible warmth, care, and dedication. A whole community shares in our grief.”
Lord Gordon of Strathblane, 83
James “Jimmy” Gordon was formerly political editor of STV and founded Radio Clyde. He is understood to have died of Covid-19 at Glasgow Royal Infirmary on Tuesday 31 March.
Outside the media, Gordon was a member of the Scottish Development Agency and chaired the Scottish Tourist Board – later VisitScotland – and was made a life peer by Labour in 1997. A statement from his family honoured “his generosity, his kindness and his enthusiasm for life”, adding that being “Papa” to his four grandchildren was the role that had brought him most pleasure. The former first minister Jack McConnell said Gordon had had “an outstanding career in business and public service” and had “transformed broadcasting”. The comedian and radio host Andy Cameron, who worked at Clyde for a number of years, said: “Another good guy gone. Jimmy Gordon, Lord Gordon of Strathblane has passed on. What an absolute gentleman. RIP Jimmy.” He leaves behind his wife Anne, three children and four grandchildren.
Aimee O’Rourke, 38
O’Rourke was an NHS nurse and mother of three girls, Megan, Mollie and Maddie. She died on 2 April at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent – the hospital where she worked. She studied at Canterbury Christ Church University before joining the NHS in 2017. She started showing symptoms of the coronavirus about two weeks ago before her condition deteriorated and she was taken into intensive care at the QEQM and put on a ventilator.
Her daughter, Megan Murphy,
wrote on Facebook that it had always been “us 4 against the world!”, and said she and her sisters would now look after each other. “Look at all the lives you looked after and all the families you comforted when patients passed away … you are an angel and you will wear your NHS crown forever more because you earned that crown the very first day you started,” she wrote. Now a family friend has set up
a GoFundMe page to raise money for O’Rourke’s family.
A colleague, Lucy Page, wrote: “Aimee O’Rourke taught me to fight for what I believe in and gave me courage so many times to do it.” Another colleague, Soraya Zanders, said:“Aimee cared for many patients in her time as a nurse. She brought warmth and comfort to many.” On the evening of the day she died family and friends lit candles and clapped in her honour during the weekly Clap for Carers.
Areema Nasreen, 36
Nasreen was an NHS nurse who had worked for 16 years at Walsall Manor hospital in the West Midlands, where she died on 3 April after contracting the coronavirus. Nasreen, who had three children and was from Walsall, developed symptoms on 13 March, including aches, a high temperature and then a cough. Her family said she had no underlying health issues. Her sister Kazeema Nasreen, 22, a healthcare assistant at the same hospital, said Nasreen was “an amazing nurse” and urged others to take the virus seriously. In a tribute posted on Facebook, her friend Rubi Aktar said: “She was the most loveliest, genuine person you could ever meet, she went above and beyond for everyone she met. I’m so grateful that I had the honour to call her my best friend, she saw me at my best and my worst and accepted my every flaw. I am so broken that words can’t explain.”
A relative told
Birmingham Live: “The immediate family are devastated. Everyone is in shock this morning. She was always so full of life. She was devoted to her job as a nurse, she absolutely loved it. She passed away doing what she loved. I’m really sad for the rest of the family, she was a fantastic person.”
Danny Sharma, 38
Sharma was an avid fan of Liverpool Football Club and devoted much of his time to amateur football. The 38-year-old was considered to be high-risk because of his diabetes and other health conditions, and he died on 26 March after battling with coronavirus in intensive care at Hammersmith hospital in London. On 24 March, Sharma posted a picture of himself making the thumbs-up sign, and wrote: “Day Four Update. Looks nice out from the window wish I was participating in the Vitamin D. Finding hard to breathe, still fighting.”
The 38-year-old attended St Paul’s College in Sunbury-on-Thames before studying computer applications at Kingston University. His brother Vinny said he wanted Sharma’s death to make people take the threat of the coronavirus seriously. “He was a fantastic guy with a big heart, and he is someone who we are going to miss a great deal. Hopefully he will find some peace,” he said. Luke Thompson called his friend the “most selfless individual I ever met.” Traditionally the Sharma family, who are of Indian heritage, would hold an open house for 12 days after a death to enable people to pay their respects – but both Sharma’s brother and mother, Parveen, had to self-isolate because of their close contact with the 38-year-old.
Danny Cairns, 68
Cairns was one of the first Scots to die after contracting the coronavirus to be named publicly. He had tried to self isolate at his home in Greenock in Inverclyde but after a few days became so ill he was transferred to hospital, where he died on 26 March. His brother Hugh, who lives in the United States, said the experience was a “nightmare” for the family. “He wasn’t just my brother, he was my best friend,” he said. “From the time of going into hospital within three days he was dead. His last words to me were, ‘I’m on my way out mate’.”
Sheila French, 80
French from Broughty Ferry, a suburb of Dundee, died after six days in Ninewells hospital intensive care on 27 March. She had been admitted after becoming ill on a family holiday in Lanzarote to celebrate her 80th birthday. Her family spoke of the pain of not being able to visit her in hospital, but her son Colin said dedicated NHS staff were determined to ensure her “comfort and dignity right to the end”. Originally from Glasgow, she married Eric French in 1962. The couple were well-known figures in the local community and shared a lifelong love of tennis.
The 80-year-old sang in the Barnhill St Margaret’s parish church choir for more than four decades. Her son said she was “interested in so many things”, including music, singing and reciting poetry. “She was also always surrounded by wool for knitting and crochet,” he told the Dundee Courier. “Her main thing in recent years was crocheting blankets to raise money for charities including
Chas, and she also collected for
Save The Children.”
Dr Habib Zaidi, 76
Family GP Dr Zaidi is thought to be the first doctor in the UK to have been killed by the coronavirus. The 76-year-old, from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, died on 25 March in intensive care just 24 hours after being taken ill. He and his wife, Dr Talat Zaidi, 70, were both managing partners of Eastwood group practice and had served three generations of families in the area for nearly 50 years. The couple’s four children all work in the medical profession. Daughter Dr Sarah Zaidi, also a GP, said his death was “reflective of his sacrifice. He had a vocational attitude to service.” She added: “We can’t mourn in the normal way. We can’t have a normal funeral. He left a gaping hole in our hearts, but a loss that is also felt within the community that he devoted almost his entire life to. We are praying for the safety of everyone right now.”
Dr Jose Garcia-Lobera, GP chair at NHS Southend clinical commissioning group, said Zaidi had left behind an “incredible legacy”. He said: “[He] was a “hugely respected, selfless man who dedicated his life to helping others. Dr Zaidi will always be remembered for his significant contribution to local health services through his long career as a GP.”
Mark Barnett, late 60s
Barnett was the headteacher at Westfield in Acomb, one of York’s biggest primary schools, for more than 17 years when he stepped down in 2008 aged 55 to work for the City of York council as a consultant headteacher. His family confirmed that he was taken into York hospital with breathing difficulties and died of Covid-19 on 1 April. Praised as a deeply committed teacher, he was a recipient of the Teacher Of The Year title at the Community Pride Awards.
Cllr Andrew Waller, a school governor at Westfield who knew Barnett well, said: “He was an inspirational headteacher and a legend in the community. Everyone knew Mark and he had a huge amount of respect.” Singer and former teacher Ian Donaghy said: “Mark was all about the children and not himself. You see a lot of career teachers out there, but Mark wasn’t one of them. The city has lost a big, big influence on children. His big thing was happy kids learn, it’s not about jumping through hoops or league tables. We could do with a few more like Mark.”
Eddie Large, 78
Large, best known as one half of the comedy duo Little and Large, died after contracting the coronavirus in hospital where he was being treated for heart failure, his son said.
The Glaswegian comedian, whose real name was Edward McGinnis, found fame alongside Syd Little in the 1970s and 80s, when their TV performances attracted millions of viewers.
His son, Ryan McGinnis, broke the news in a Facebook post on 2 April, explaining that his father had caught Covid-19 while in hospital. He wrote: “It is with great sadness that Mum and I need to announce that my dad passed away in the early hours of this morning. He had been suffering with heart failure and unfortunately, whilst in hospital, contracted the coronavirus, which his heart was sadly not strong enough to fight. Dad had fought bravely for so long. Due to this horrible disease we had been unable to visit him at the hospital, but all of the family and close friends spoke to him every day.
“We will miss him terribly and we are so proud of everything he achieved in his career with Syd and know that he was much loved by the millions that watched them each week.”
Caroline Saunby, 48
Saunby, a mother of two young boys, had no known underlying health conditions and started exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms on Thursday 26 March. By Sunday, she had died.
She collapsed at her home in New Marske, North Yorkshire, where she had begun to struggle for breath after initially having a sore throat, which she thought was tonsillitis. An air ambulance was dispatched and Saunby was put on a ventilator at home before being taken to James Cook University hospital in Middlesbrough, where she died the same day. She leaves behind her husband, Vic, and six-year-old twins, Joseph and Elliot.
Her twin sister, Sarah Jarvis, described her “unbearable heartbreak” as she pleaded with people to take the coronavirus seriously. She
told the Northern Echo: “Caroline took every precaution under the sun. She was practising social distancing, she was washing her hands, took hers and everyone’s safety seriously, was healthy, yet she was taken from us in only four days. This virus does not discriminate.”
Paul Ramsden, 80
It was only when Ramsden’s wife, Jacky, struggled to wake him that it dawned on her something was seriously wrong. Paul was fit for his age and had no known underlying health conditions.
He fell ill soon after the couple returned from the Canary island of La Gomera. Jacky said Ramsden’s only obvious symptom was tiredness, but when she tried to rouse him from his sleep on 22 March, the penny dropped. He died five days later.
Jacky, from Lytham near Blackpool in Lancashire,
told the Blackpool Gazette: “It’s very clear that while the vulnerable are susceptible to this virus, it also strikes down fit and healthy people. I wish people to take the government guidelines seriously and to abide by them so we can avoid further heartbreak. I feel lucky to have enjoyed 40 years of love and adventure with Paul, but I am saddened that our marriage has been cut short in this way.”
Linda Tuppen, 66
A former nursery nurse and teacher, Tuppen died from suspected coronavirus after caring for her son, who is also thought to have caught the disease. She was found lifeless by her son, Rob, on 28 March, a day after she had refused to speak to NHS’s 111 service when she fell ill, deciding to sleep instead.
Tuppen – who suffered from asthma – had been looking after Rob after he developed Covid-19 symptoms following his return from Krakow, Poland, earlier last month, but then began to feel unwell herself.
Her other son, 23-year-old James, was admitted to hospital a day later with coronavirus symptoms.
In an interview with MEN, Rob recalled the moment he found his mother at her home in Bolton, Greater Manchester. “I was in a panic, she was just lay there, and I shouted ‘Mum, mum,’ but she didn’t answer,” the 28-year-old software engineer said. “I was doing chest compressions until the ambulance came. I was still in the room when he came over and said she was gone. It’s devastating. We lost our father in 2008, so we’re pretty much on our own now.
“She was a kind, loving lady who adored me and James and would have done anything for us. She always used to say that we were her lives. She would do anything for anyone.”
Thomas Harvey, 57
The NHS healthcare assistant caught coronavirus and died after treating patients with only gloves for protection, according to his family.
It is claimed Harvey fell ill after helping a patient who later tested positive for Covid-19 and eventually died on 29 March. He had been signed off work more than two weeks earlier when he developed symptoms including a cough, shortness of breath and body aches.
His family said that if he had had the correct personal protective equipment, he might still be alive. Goodmayes hospital in east London claims there were “no symptomatic patients on the ward”. But a former colleague told the BBC that Harvey contracted the virus after treating a patient who later tested positive.
Harvey’s daughter, 19-year-old Tamira,
told the BBC: “It’s so sad. I feel like he was let down in so many ways. It’s an absolute tragedy and he didn’t deserve to lose his life in the way he did. If he had just had the right equipment, we wouldn’t be in this predicament and it wouldn’t have escalated in the way it did.”
Peter Sinclair, 73
Sinclair was a professor of economics and a former tutor to David Cameron. He taught the future prime minister during his time at Oxford before joining the University of Birmingham in 1994. He later became director of the Bank of England’s Centre for Central Banking Studies. Cameron described him as
“one of the cleverest people I ever met” and said he had inspired “generations of students”. He added: “It was a complete privilege to know him.” Sinclair died in intensive care on 31 March after testing positive for coronavirus.
Alfa Saadu, 68
Saadu was a distinguished former medical director of Princess Alexandra hospital NHS trust in Harlow, Essex. He grew up in Nigeria and travelled to the UK to train as a doctor at University College London. He retired in 2016 after a 40-year career in the NHS. He was volunteering at his local hospital in Welwyn, Hertfordshire, one of the counties worst hit by coronavirus, when he became infected. He died after a two-week battle with the disease, according to his son Dani. Dani said: “My dad was a living legend, worked for the NHS for nearly 40 years, saving people’s lives here and in Africa. Up until he got sick he was still working part-time saving people.”
George Mason, 71
Mason and his twin brother, Malcolm, had been cutting hair in the same barber shop in Gosport, Hampshire, since they trained together as teenagers. In a statement, the
Mason’s Barber Shop said he “always brought laughter and happiness and it will be so hard not working alongside him any more”. Speaking to Solent News, Malcolm said: “George was good fun – we had our moments like all brothers do, but got along brilliantly. He was a real family man and cared deeply about those around him.” As he began suffering from the virus, George told his brother he “wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy”. He was placed on a ventilator last weekend and never recovered. He is survived by his wife, Bobbie, his children Joanna and Natalie and grandchildren Hannah and Ben.
Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, 13
The rare death of someone so young from coronavirus prompted widespread shock and concern. Ismail, who had no underlying health conditions, died on 30 March at King’s College hospital, London, after testing positive for Covid-19. Ismail, who had six siblings, lived in Brixton, south London. His family said they were “beyond devastated”. In a later statement they said: “Ismail was a loving son, brother, nephew to our family and a friend to many people who knew him. His smile was heartwarming and he was always gentle and kind.”
Luca Di Nicola, 19
Di Nicola was a chef from Nereto, near the Adriatic coast of Italy, who was living with his mother and her partner in Enfield, north London. He died on 24 March in North Middlesex hospital. His death was announced on the same day as Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab’s. A postmortem revealed that Luca had Covid-19. His aunt Giada
told La Repubblica that a GP had prescribed him paracetamol for a cough and fever. She said the doctor had told him “he was young, strong and [had] nothing to worry about”.
Harold Pearsall, 97
Pearsall was a hero of the D-day landings who was awarded the Légion d’honneur for his part in the allied assault on Caen in 1944. He landed on Juno Beach along with the Royal Artillery. “We never fired a round. When that first shell came in, I could have crawled down a worm hole,” he said last year at an event to mark the 75th anniversary of D-day. His unit went on to suffer heavy losses as it was attacked with phosphorus bombs and grenades, he said of the Caen operation. He died in Birmingham’s Good Hope hospital on 27 March after testing positive for Covid-19. Pearsall had two sons and had been an active member of D-day veterans’ groups. “He was very proud and always clean, smart and tidy,” said Peter Lloyd, secretary of the 1944 Alliance Normandy-Market Garden veterans’ association.
Andrew Jack, 76
Jack was a dialect coach and actor who appeared in three Star Wars films. He died in hospital in Surrey on 31 March. His wife,
Gabrielle Rogers, also a dialect coach, tweeted: “We lost a man today. Andrew Jack was diagnosed with coronavirus two days ago. He was in no pain, and he slipped away peacefully knowing that his family were all ‘with’ him.” Jack lived on one of the oldest working houseboats on the Thames. According to his agent, Jill McCullough, he was fiercely independent but also madly in love with his wife. He appeared in Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi as General Ematt, as well as Solo: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. He had been working as dialect coach on a new Batman film. Sam Neill was among many actors to pay tribute. He said
Jack was a “lovely man” and “joy to work with”.
Maria Lawrence, 48
Lawrence ran a business selling gift bags in Derby. According to her son, Dan Clark, she was also a “community champion” in the city and founded a Secret Santa scheme which she ran for free.
Speaking to the Derby Telegraph, he said: “She was like an angel and very well regarded in the community. She was selfless too. Nothing was done for herself. She ran all these things out of charity.” Lawrence was unaware she had any health problem until she was diagnosed with coronavirus. Further tests revealed she also had vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels, worsened by Covid-19. She died at Royal Derby hospital on 20 March.
Frank Rust, 81
Rust was a Labour councillor for Rushmoor borough council for 28 years, and was due to serve a second stint as mayor next year. A passionate Spurs fan, he was a retired NHS manager and had also held senior posts in education. The former Labour cabinet minister Hazel Blears was among those sending tributes, describing him as a “lovely man”.
His son Karl wrote: “Sorry dad you were added to the pandemic stats today but you were not a victim or casualty in these dark days. You lived life to the full never stopping learning new things, keeping active, helping people and the community you represented. You were a good dad. I am pleased you had enough time to enjoy being a grandad to Archie.” Rust died on 30 March at Frimley Park hospital, Camberley, Surrey.
Pat Midgley, 82
Midgley was a Labour councillor in Sheffield for 33 years, and was described by her family as a “true woman of steel”. The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, was among many figures in the Labour party to praise her years of service. In a message to her son Neil, McDonnell said: “The flood of tributes to your mum shows just how loved she was and how respected for her dedication to her community to the end.” Julie Dore, the leader of Sheffield city council, said: “I am heartbroken. This makes coronavirus all the more real.” Midgley was admitted to Sheffield general hospital on 24 March and was confirmed positive with Covid-19 a day later. She died on 29 March. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, three children and five grandchildren.
Frank Hammond, 83
Hammond died in Stepping Hill hospital in Stockport on 26 March. He tested positive for coronavirus despite having no cough and only a mild temperature. His daughter, Trisha Conroy, paid tribute to a “lovely, funny man who always wanted to make people laugh”. He enjoyed art and making
scraperboard images and loved walking in the nearby Peak District. A photography enthusiast who worked in a Jessops camera shop for many years, Frank had suffered from chronic lung disease and had reduced mobility but was otherwise in good health before he fell ill, Trisha said: “He used a walking frame in the house and a mobility scooter when he was out after he lost a lot of the strength in his legs but was otherwise in decent shape.” He is survived by his wife, Brenda, daughters Trisha and Claire, and four grandchildren.
Christopher Vallely, 79
Vallely died in Belfast’s Mater hospital just hours after his wife, Isobel, passed away in the same hospital room. Earlier this year, he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. He was admitted to hospital and placed in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19. Vallely, who was known as Arty, retired to his native Belfast in 2003 after working for decades in England. He lived near the Falls Road in west Belfast. He died on 29 March.
Isobel Vallely, 77
Vallely died on 28 March, the day after the couple’s 53rd wedding anniversary. She had had a stroke last year, and was admitted to hospital on 26 March after testing positive for coronavirus. Her daughter Fiona said both Isobel and Christopher were “amazing parents”. She added: “They were fantastic people who did not deserve to go this way.”
Amged El-Hawrani, 55
A respected ear, nose and throat consultant who worked at Queen’s hospital Burton near Derby, El-Hawrani was the first confirmed hospital frontline worker to die in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus. His death prompted tributes from ministers and senior health leaders. In a statement, his family said: “His greatest passions were his family and his profession, and he dedicated his life to both. He was the rock of our family, incredibly strong, compassionate, caring and giving. He always put everyone else before himself.” He died on 28 March at Leicester Royal Infirmary.
Hilda Churchill, 108
Believed to be oldest coronavirus victim in the UK, Churchill was a survivor of the 1918 Spanish flu. She died in a Salford care home on 28 March, hours after testing positive for Covid-19 and just eight days before what would have been her 109th birthday. Before she died, she had been reminiscing about the Spanish flu, according to her grandson Anthony Churchill. She and most of her family in their home in Crewe had become infected, including her father, who collapsed in the street with the flu, she recalled. They all survived apart from her 12-month-old baby sister. “Grandma said she remembered a small box being put in a carriage,” her grandson said. “She was saying how amazing it is that something you can’t see can be so devastating.” Hilda was a seamstress who moved to Salford during the depression to find work. She was known for her cooking skills, particularly her gravy. She had four children, 11 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.
Adil El Tayar, 63
Tayar was the first working NHS surgeon known to have died from Covid-19 in the UK. He had been volunteering in A&E departments in the Midlands to help the NHS cope with the virus. “He wanted to be deployed where he would be most useful in the crisis,” said his cousin, the broadcaster Zeinab Badawi. “It had taken just 12 days for Adil to go from a seemingly fit and capable doctor working in a busy hospital to lying in a hospital morgue.” His former colleague Abbas Ghaznafar, a renal transplant surgeon at St George’s hospital in Tooting, described Tayar as a “noble human being” who was a “hardworking, dedicated surgeon”. He died on 25 March at West Middlesex University hospital, London.
Pooja Sharma, 33
Sharma was a hospital pharmacist who died from the virus a day after it claimed the life of her father. She worked at Eastbourne District general hospital in East Sussex. Lara Stacey Young, a nurse in the area, said: “So many people will be devastated. She was such a lovely soul.” Amarjit Aujla, a friend from childhood, said: “Her laughter was contagious and her random calls made my day. From when we were in primary school until we last spoke two weeks ago, you gave me nothing but love, support and a tummy ache with all the laughter.” She died on 26 March.
Sudhir Sharma, 61
Sharma was an immigration officer at Heathrow Terminal 3. He died on 25 March, a day before his daughter also succumbed to the virus. It is unclear whether the pair had any contact before both contracted the disease. Sharma had health problems and had not been on duty at Heathrow since early January. Nick Jariwalla, director of Border Force at Heathrow, said: “Sudhir was a very well-respected, kind and experienced officer. He will be greatly missed by everyone.”
Adam Harkins Sullivan, 28
Harkins Sullivan, from Camden, north London, was a painter and decorator and father to a six-year-old son. He worked with his father who gave him his nickname, Spud. Speaking to the
Camden New Journal, his mother, Jackie Harkins, said: “I’ve lost something very precious to me that can never be replaced. We are all just in shock because he was only a young man. He was healthy – you didn’t have to tell him to eat his greens, he was always like that.” An otherwise fit man, he had been taken to hospital with suspected pneumonia. He died on 24 March at University College hospital in London in an isolation ward for coronavirus patients.
Doreen Hunt, 72
Hunt was born in 1947 in Canning Town, east London, into “extreme poverty”, said her son Steve Hunt, adding that she was brought up in “one of the poorest families in a poor area”. After leaving London for Dunstable in 1973, Hunt ran an insurance business for many years with her husband, John, in the Bedfordshire town. “She became as successful in business as she was as a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother,” her
son said. “She travelled the world and enjoyed a rich and varied life.” Hunt had been on dialysis for kidney problems at Luton and Dunstable hospital but her condition deteriorated rapidly and she was admitted to intensive care last Friday. She died two days later, on Mother’s Day, her family said. After her death, tests results confirmed she had been infected by the coronavirus.
Steven Dick, 37
Dick was the UK’s deputy ambassador to Hungary. He had been with the Foreign Office since 2008 and had previously served in Kabul and Riyadh. His parents, Steven and Carol Dick, said: “Steven was a much-loved son, grandson and nephew. He was kind, funny and generous. It was always his dream to work for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and he was very happy representing our country overseas.” Shaun Walker, the Guardian’s central and eastern Europe correspondent, said: “He was a jovial, intellectually curious and extremely helpful person. He spoke fluent Hungarian, having undergone a year’s training before taking up his position last autumn. Early last week he helped coordinate arrangements for me to get back into the country, and mentioned that he had tested positive for coronavirus, but at that time said he was feeling fine.”
Allan Oldcorn, 74
Oldcorn was a retired lorry driver for Bowater-Scott, which manufactured tissues and toilet rolls. Wendy Cavin, one of his three daughters, fondly remembers him leaving sweets for her and her sisters on the family mantelpiece in Flookburgh, Lancashire, when he was doing night shifts. Speaking to the
Cumberland News and Star, she said: “He was the go-to man when it came to Flookburgh charter fair day, when everybody needed toilet rolls to make their float flowers.” She added: “He was an amazing husband, dad, grandad and great-grandad – the anchor of our family.” Oldcorn, who had been “fit and healthy”, died on 21 March, a day after being admitted to hospital with shortness of breath and backache. Doctors later confirmed he had tested positive for coronavirus,
Cavin said on Facebook.
Michael Gerard, 73
Gerard was a teacher, musician, campaigner and lifelong Guardian reader. His daughter, Sushila Moles, described him as “loving, kind and always supportive”. She said he made up daily limericks and entertained her with bizarre conversations. Gerard grew up in Shortlands in Bromley, south-east London. He met his wife, Caroline, at Durham University and the couple both worked as teachers in Leicester. Later Gerard specialised in teaching visually impaired children. Moles said: “He was a hoarder, which worked well for this occupation as he always had a boot full of noisy toys and tinsel that he used to help children.” He played many musical instruments but was most accomplished at the violin and founded several orchestras and bands near his home in Clarendon Park, Leicester. He was a Woodcraft Folk leader for 30 years, a former president of the Leicester Secular Society and a frequent attender of anti-war demonstrations. In later years he had a number of health problems including Crohn’s disease. He was diagnosed with Covid-19 on 18 March and died four days later at Leicester Royal Infirmary.
Jon Jacob, 69
Jacob was a successful property lawyer and partner at the London firm Bower Cotton Hamilton, who lived in Chesham, Buckinghamshire. He was a stalwart of quiz leagues in London and the Chilterns, known for his formidable knowledge of classical music. A friend said Jacob “wore his knowledge lightly, and was very modest and self-effacing, always genuinely surprised to be told how good he was. He was also a lovely man: kind, generous and absolutely delightful company. He will be sorely missed by all his friends in the quizzing family.” Paddy Duffy, another
fellow quizzer, tweeted: “Just a lovely man, brilliant fun and incredibly erudite. I’ll remember fondly our Sunday matches and our japes on the quiz holiday in Rhodes.” Jacob died on 23 March of complications from Covid-19.
Ruth Burke, 82
Burke was the fourth victim of coronavirus in Northern Ireland,
according to her daughter Brenda Doherty. She said her mother had “unbelievable strength and suffered many challenges in her life”, adding: “Unfortunately this was one that she was not going to overcome.” In an
emotional video on Facebook she said: “We couldn’t be with her when she passed. We’ll not see her coffin, we’ll not get to kiss her.” Doherty urged the public to stop panic-buying and stay indoors. “My mum would not have believed how people are behaving. She would have thought better of society. My mum was a woman who loved life. If you value life, you will stay in and do as you’ve been asked.” Burke’s death was announced by Doherty on 24 March.
Marita Edwards, 80
“She was a very gentle loving woman and a friend to everybody,” Edwards’s son Stuart Loud said. She grew up in the village of Mangotsfield near Bristol. She worked as a cleaner in a factory in the city and brought up two children with her first husband. She found a new life with her second husband on the other side of the Bristol channel in the village of Bulwark in Monmouthshire. She was a regular at the Conservative Club in Chepstow, where she enjoyed dancing. “She had a very rich social life, much better than mine,” said Loud. Edwards was a former captain of the women’s golf team at St Pierre country club in Chepstow, and continued to play golf until she was admitted to hospital for a routine operation in February. She died three weeks later of
hospital-acquired Covid-19 a day after testing positive for the virus. Loud said: “She was a lovely lady and it was just a horrendous way to go. I just want to make people aware of that.”
Peter Myles, 77
Myles’s struggles with Covid-19 were documented on social media by his daughter, the actor Sophia Myles. She said she had done it to show the “harsh reality of the coronavirus”. In 2018 she tweeted about her father’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease. Before he retired in 2008, Myles was an Anglican vicar at St John’s church in Isleworth, west London, where he was described as a
“liberal soul”. After being ordained in 1971, his first job as curate was in Tideswell in Derbyshire. He spent the rest of his career in west London, including stints as a priest at St Peter’s church in Notting Hill and as chaplain to the bishop of Kensington. In his final years he lived in a care home close to St John’s. He died on 21 March.
Jacobs was the headteacher of Roose primary school in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. Her leadership of the school was repeatedly praised by inspectors. “This vibrant school provides a good quality of education with outstanding features,” they said in a recent report. The school’s chair of governors, Fred Chatfield, said her death was devastating for the school and the community. “This is a huge loss,” he said. Jacobs died on 22 March.
William Stern, 85
Born Vilmos György Stern in Budapest, Hungary, on 2 July 1935, Stern was imprisoned as a child in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp during the second world war. He shared his memories of Torah readings in the camp on the Shoah website. After the war he settled in London and went on to build a successful property empire. Stern Holdings collapsed in 1973 and in 1978 Stern was declared bankrupt with debts of £118m, a record that stood for 14 years. He was a member of the ultra-Orthodox Haredi community in London.
Rina Feldman, 97
Feldman was a member of the ultra-orthodox Haredi community. No other details about her have been reported.
Jean Bradford Nutter
Bradford Nutter was the aunt of the former England rugby player Will Greenwood. In an Instagram post he said she “never did anything but bring sunshine into my life”. Greenwood said his aunt lived near his boarding school in Sedbergh, Cumbria. He said she was the eldest of three sisters and was in her 80s “but had so much living to do”. She died on 21 March.
Councillor Ali Milani, who was Labour’s parliamentary contender against Boris Johnson in Uxbridge and South Ruislip in the 2019 general election, revealed that his father, Hassan, had died after contracting the coronavirus on a trip to Iran. “In the early hours of this morning,” he said on Saturday, “my father tragically passed away after having contracted Covid-19. Please keep him in your prayers. This virus is taking millions all across the world.”
Craig Ruston, 45
Ruston, a rugby fan and father of two from Kettering, Northamptonshire, had been a footwear designer, including at Dr Martens, before being diagnosed with motor neurone disease. He had been writing about his struggle with the condition before he tested positive for Covid-19. But his posts became less frequent as he began losing the strength in his upper body. In one of his last, he wrote about a dream he had of standing beside his wife and daughters at his own funeral. He wrote: “I don’t fear death, but I can tear myself to pieces if I dwell too long on what happens when I’m gone.” His family said he was “not ready to go”. He died on 16 March.
Leonard Gibson, 78
Described by his family as a “typical jolly Irishman”, Gibson died on St Patrick’s Day, 17 March. He was born in County Tyrone and had 12 siblings. After moving to South Yorkshire aged 26, he worked at the coking plant at Orgreave. In retirement he enjoyed gardening, but problems with his lungs forced him to move into a sheltered housing flat in Oughtibridge, near Sheffield. He died in Sheffield Northern general hospital after being diagnosed with Covid-19. His daughters, Lisa, an NHS worker, and Michelle, a teaching assistant, were not allowed to visit him in hospital. Lisa said: “It is sad that we weren’t able to be with Daddy, but the nurses were there for us.”
Nick Matthews, 59
Described as a “true legend” of the Avon and Somerset police, Matthews retired as an officer in 2010 after a heart attack. He and his wife, Mary, from Nailsea in Somerset, had a week’s holiday on the Canary island of Fuerteventura at the end of February. Matthews was taken to Bristol Royal Infirmary after complaining of breathing difficulties on 12 March. He died on 14 March after testing positive for Covid-19.
Darrell Blakeley, 88
was a churchgoer from Middleton in Rochdale and sang in the choir. He had a beautiful voice, according to a spokeswoman for St Michael’s church. He was also regarded as a “gracious gentleman”, she said. He had underlying health conditions and fell ill after coming into contact with someone who had travelled to Italy. Blakeley was admitted to North Manchester general hospital on 3 March with sepsis. He tested positive for Covid-19 on 10 March and died three days later.
Kimberley Finlayson, 53
Finlayson was the first British victim of coronavirus to be named after she died on holiday on the island of Bali in Indonesia on 11 March. She was the founder of a dental communication business based in Shenley, Hertfordshire, one of the counties worst hit at the start of the outbreak in the UK. She had four children. Her colleagues paid tribute to her “passion, creativity and determination”. Finlayson had lung disease and diabetes.