COVID-19: remembering the nursing staff who have lost their lives
Colleagues and families pay tribute to nursing professionals who have died across the UK
- Nurses and healthcare assistants from across the profession are remembered for their commitment, kindness and compassion
- Family of a nurse who worked for the NHS for 44 years urges the public to ‘value healthcare workers in good times and bad times’
- Organisations, managers and colleagues honour the dedication and skill of their late colleagues from the UK and around the world
This article was updated on 24 November 2020
The practice nurse who had worked in the NHS for nearly half a century, the ‘old-school’ nurse, the ‘go-to’ healthcare assistant (HCA) who knew how to get things done.
These are just some of the members of the nursing family who have lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Colleagues, friends and loved ones have all paid tribute to their dedication, professionalism and passion for their role.
‘They lost their lives while caring for and protecting patients’
RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: ‘On behalf of everyone at the RCN I would like to pay tribute to our colleagues in the health and care sector who have died in the course of carrying out their professional duties. These people lost their lives while caring for and protecting patients with compassion, skill and dedication.
‘Every life lost during the pandemic is a tragedy, and we are determined that our nursing and healthcare colleagues are remembered now and in the future. We will never forget them.’
Here we remember some of those who have lost their lives.
Originally from the Caribbean island of Dominica, staff nurse Hannah Jackson moved to the UK to work in the NHS in 2019.
A fundraising page set up in her memory has already raised thousands of pounds.
Colleagues at Medway NHS Foundation Trust in Kent described Ms Jackson as ‘an amazing lady’ and said ‘there was never a frown in the room when she was around’.
Ms Jackson worked most recently in the hospital’s surgical assessment unit. She is thought to have died on 22 November after being admitted to hospital.
Trust chief executive James Devine said: ‘Hannah was dedicated to caring for others. She will be greatly missed by all.’
Tributes have been paid to much-loved mental health nurse Wilbald Tesha, who died in September after contracting the coronavirus.
Mr Tesha worked for Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and had worked in the NHS for the past 30 years.
Trust chief executive Samantha Allen said: ‘I have heard many, many wonderful things about Tesha – about what a kind, caring and compassionate nurse he was, a good friend to many and someone who would do anything to help another.’
Known to her colleagues as Raji, Miharajiya Mohideen was a healthcare assistant on Tayberry Ward at Newham General Hospital. She died on 20 April.
She had worked at the hospital for several years.
On a JustGiving page set up in her memory, her son Javed said he was hoping to raise £10,000. The funds will go towards building a well in either Sierra Leone or Malawi.
Adult nurse Emma Vianzon died on 20 October in Northern Ireland’s Nightingale hospital.
The mother of three became unwell with COVID-19 after undergoing a kidney transplant in July, having been on dialysis for nearly three years. She was 57.
Her daughter, Denilee Vianzon, told Nursing Standard that her mum was a ‘dedicated nurse, truly inspirational… she was always caring for other people’.
Ms Vianzon, originally from the Philippines, had practised as an adult nurse in Northern Ireland since 2002, working at Belfast City Hospital, Musgrave Park Hospital, also in Belfast, and most recently the Brooklands Healthcare nursing home in Antrim.
Nurse Rizal Manalo, known to his friends as Zaldy, died on 14 May after spending several weeks in critical care at Glan Clwyd Hospital, where he had worked, in north east Wales.
Mr Manalo, who was born in the Philippines, had worked at the hospital since 2001.
Matron Karen Davies said: ‘Zaldy would always greet you with a smile in the morning and always had a story to tell. He was a caring and compassionate member of the team, a true gentleman.’
Nurse Johanna Daniels worked at the Pitkerro Care Centre in Dundee.
Home manager Prisca Katsande described Ms Daniels as a kind-hearted, selfless and dedicated person who will be missed by all who knew her.
She said: ‘We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to work alongside Johanna and we cannot thank her enough for her deep commitment to our residents and her fellow staff.’
Edem Dzigbede was a nurse on the respiratory ward at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in London for a number of years.
After having retired last year, she came back to work on the ward and in the day care unit on the staff bank.
Ben Travis, chief executive of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, said: ‘All our thoughts are with Edem’s family, loved ones and colleagues during this devastating time.’
Resy Manalo was a registered nurse in the Philippines but worked as a nursing assistant at County Homes in Merseyside.
She died in hospital on 7 May.
A spokesperson for County Homes said: ‘Many of us recall her joyous and affectionate smile and how she would sing with residents during her shifts.
‘Her selflessness, courage and compassion were evident in her work, particularly how she stepped up during the coronavirus outbreak.’
Described as a ‘quiet and gentle’ person, HCA Carlos Sia died on 15 May, after spending several weeks in intensive care.
He worked for Worcester Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, alongside his wife Cindy, a fellow HCA, and daughter Clair, a nurse.
In a letter to staff, trust chief executive Matthew Hopkins 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.’
HCA Esther Akinsanya, who worked at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in London, died on 15 April, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust confirmed.
Her son Samuel told the PA news agency: ‘She was a people’s person, always available to stretch herself thin to help in any way, shape or form.
‘She would make sacrifices to ensure you were whole; nothing was half-hearted.’
Grace Kungwengwe died at University Hospital Lewisham, where she had worked as an HCA, on 19 April, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust confirmed.
A fundraising page set up in her memory said: ‘She was loved by many and her dedication and care for others was second to none.’
Agency nurse Keith Dunnington most recently worked at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust on medical, surgical and older people’s wards.
He died on 19 April.
Trust chief executive Yvonne Ormston said: ‘Keith was a popular and hard-working member of our fantastic nursing team – he will be very missed by his co-workers here at the trust and by the patients he cared for.’
HCA Khalid Jamil, who worked at Watford General Hospital, died on 14 April.
He joined West Hertfordshire NHS Trust in 2006.
Colleagues described him as ‘a kind, gentle man who was unassuming and respectful to all his colleagues and helpful to others’.
HCA Juliet Alder, who had worked at West London NHS Trust since 2016, died on 14 April.
She was described by trust chief executive Carolyn Regan as ‘kind, caring and thoughtful’.
Nurse Julie Edward, who died in May, had worked at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading since 2017.
The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust described her as a much-loved and valued colleague and commended her ‘kindness and dedication to her job’.
Eyitolami Olaolorun had been a nurse for 40 years, most recently working at the Wellington Hospital in London, where she cared for young people who were critically or terminally ill.
She died on 16 April.
Her daughter Oyinkansola Honey Iloba said her ‘exceptional’ mother ‘didn’t see her patients as just someone she was looking after, they were family’.
Her children have set up a foundation in her name to continue her work helping young people in Nigeria access higher education.
Emelita Hurboda was a self-employed registered nurse based in Nottingham.
Her family said she had ‘made sacrifices to work abroad and moved to the UK to provide a better life and education for her family’.
HCA Elvira Bucu, who worked at Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot, Berkshire, died on 3 April.
A statement from Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust said she was dedicated and highly valued.
Her colleagues described her as a ‘ray of sunshine’.
Francis Olabode Ajanlekoko
‘Hard-working and dedicated’ mental health nurse Francis Olabode Ajanlekoko worked as a locum at Priory hospital in Ticehurst, East Sussex.
He died on 2 April after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
His wife, Olabisi Ajanlekoko, said he worked tirelessly during the pandemic ‘for the people in his community’.
She said he was an exceptional father to their three children.
Dominga David, who was a nurse at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, was described by her employers as ‘an exceptionally hard worker and a respectful, kind and compassionate person’.
She died on 26 May.
The board said: ‘The teams say she was part of their family and she was well-loved by everyone.’
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board theatre assistant Allan Macalalad was described as ‘a generous and genuine person’ by his wife Elsie, following his death on 26 May.
Executive nurse director Ruth Walker said: ‘It is absolutely heart-breaking to have lost two colleagues in the same week to COVID-19 – we will miss them profoundly.’
Nursing assistant Sylvia Tideswell, who had worked on the elderly care wards at Royal Stoke University Hospital since 2003, died on 25 May after testing positive for COVID-19.
Her daughter Sarah said: ‘She was caring and considerate and would do anything for anybody. She loved her job at the hospital and wouldn't hesitate in doing everything for everyone else.’
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust has paid tribute to ‘highly valued and respected senior nurse’ Victor Dinoo, who died on 24 May having tested positive for COVID-19.
Director of nursing Margaret Garbett said he would be greatly missed.
Andrew Ekene Nwankwo
Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust has paid tribute to bank nurse Andrew Ekene Nwankwo.
A matron on one of the wards he worked on at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, said: ‘Andrew was a dedicated and committed nurse who worked in many areas throughout our hospital and cared passionately for his patients.
‘He was a nurse who touched many hearts with his smile and humility.’
Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust paid tribute to ‘exemplary nurse and role model’ orthopaedic trauma nurse coordinator Joselito Habab.
Mr Habab died on 20 May at Whiston Hospital.
Swansea Bay University Health Board has paid tribute to ‘caring and dedicated’ nurse Liz Spooner.
Ms Spooner worked in the coronary care unit of Singleton Hospital in Swansea.
Hospital director Jan Worthing said: ‘Liz will be sorely missed by us all and her death leaves a massive hole in the Singleton Hospital family.’
North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has paid tribute to Andy Collier, described as a ‘down-to-earth, fair and selfless’ nurse practitioner.
Mr Collier died on 15 April.
Ward manager Rob Kelly said: ‘Andy was all about putting other people first – whether that was patients on the ward or his colleagues across the trust.’
HCA Jun Terre, who died on 14 May, was said to be ‘a gracious, quiet and kind gentleman with a smile that would light up a room’.
Neil Macdonald, chief executive of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, where Mr Terre worked, described his death as a tragic loss that had affected staff greatly.
Birmingham Women's Hospital head of midwifery Rachel Carter paid tribute to ‘inspiring and compassionate’ midwife and former nurse Safaa Alam following her death.
Ms Carter said: ‘Not only was she generous with her time, approachable and extremely hard-working, a true role model, but she was also a dear friend and the glue to our team.’
Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust paid tribute to ‘much loved’ senior mental health nurse Lillian Mudzivare.
Chief executive Sarah-Jane Marsh said: ‘Her commitment to the mental health and well-being of young people always shone through.
‘She was working hard towards becoming an advanced practitioner, where she knew she would be able to make even more of a difference.’
Learning disability nurse Norman Campbell worked for 27 years at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust before becoming a learning disability commissioning manager in primary care.
Mr Campbell, who had retired in 2017, died on 6 May.
A statement from the trust said: ‘Norman has been described by many former colleagues as being completely passionate about equality and the rights of people with learning disabilities.
‘He was kind and caring, a great colleague and mentor, easy to talk to and confide in, with a great and individual sense of humour.’
University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust paid tribute to ‘loving, caring and responsible’ HCA Norman Austria, who died on 13 May.
Trust chief executive Gavin Boyle said: ‘While we did not get to work with Norman for very long, he epitomised the trust's values and consistently demonstrated care and compassion towards his patients.’
Augustine ‘Gus’ Agyei-Mensah
Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has paid tribute to learning disabilities nurse Augustine ‘Gus’ Agyei-Mensah.
Trust chief executive Angela Hillery said: ‘Augustine cared for some of the most vulnerable in our society. Lives have been transformed because of him.’
Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust paid tribute to long-standing agency nurse Onyenachi Obasi, who died on 6 May.
Trust chief nurse Kathryn Halford said: ‘She was a popular and much-loved nurse, and our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and colleagues at such a difficult time – she will be greatly missed.’
Haematology nurse Jennie Sablayan was described as a ‘much-loved specialist’ who had trained in the Philippines before joining University College London Hospital in 2002.
A GoFundMe fundraising page set up in her memory said she died on 5 May.
HCA Afua Fofie was described as having an ‘infectious laugh and willingness to go the extra mile’ for patients and those she worked with.
According to Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Ms Fofie died in April but her family were not ready for the details to be shared at the time.
Gill Oakes, a ‘dedicated and compassionate’ senior clinical support nurse who worked at Bolton Hospice, died on 30 April after 24 years in her job.
The charity’s chief executive Leigh Vallance said: ‘She was a brilliant nurse who often helped new members of the team settle into their role at the hospice.’
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust paid tribute to staff nurse Philomina Cherian, who died on 30 April after nearly 40 years in the job.
Trust chief nursing officer Sam Foster said: ‘She was an incredibly caring friend and colleague who will be terribly missed by us all.’
Nurse Cecilia Fashanu died at her workplace, Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, on 30 April after contracting COVID-19.
North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Lyn Simpson said: ‘She was a much-loved colleague and her death is felt across the organisation as a whole.’
Ms Fashanu’s son Anthony said: ‘Mum was passionate about people, helping others, selfless and always willing to go out of her way to ensure everyone was comfortable.’
Dundee residential home nurse Karen Hutton died on 28 April, just days after her granddaughter was born.
Andrew Chalmers-Gall, manager of Lochleven Care Home, which is part of Thistle Healthcare, said Ms Hutton was a ‘tenacious advocate’ for the residents who always put their needs first.
St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in London confirmed the death on 27 April of cardiac research nurse Ken Lambatan.
Trust chief executive Jacqueline Totterdell said: ‘Everyone at St George’s is deeply saddened by Ken’s death.
‘He was very popular with staff and described as a “true gem” by those who knew him well. He was dedicated to his role as a research nurse here at St George’s, and was as popular with his patients as he was with colleagues.’
Anujkumar Kuttikkottu Pavithran
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust confirmed that staff nurse Anujkumar Kuttikkottu Pavithran died on 27 April.
Trust chief executive Andrew Morgan said: ‘He was a very well-liked, professional, respected member of the team and he will be greatly missed.’
East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust paid tribute to ‘kind and caring’ intensive care nurse Adekunle Enitan, who died on 24 April.
Mr Enitan, who had recently undertaken a PhD in hospital management, was cared for by the team he had worked with for five years.
His PhD mentor, intensive treatment unit senior sister Yvonne Davis, said: ‘We are deeply saddened to lose Ade. He was an excellent nurse and a kind and cheery soul.’
Healthcare support worker Julius Sana, who worked at St Peter’s Hospital in Newport, South Wales, died on 26 April after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Mr Sana was originally from the Philippines. He had a cardiac arrest at the Royal Gwent Hospital after being on a ventilator for 18 days.
His sister Jovelyn Villareal described him as a ‘good man who loved his job’.
Fiona Anderson loved her job as a community staff nurse at Grindon Lane Primary Care Centre in Sunderland and devoted her life to helping others, her colleagues said.
Ms Anderson died on 26 April after testing positive for COVID-19.
Speaking on behalf of her community nursing colleagues, manager Kath Henderson said: ‘There are no words that can describe the loss we are all feeling, but we take comfort in knowing just how much Fiona loved her job and how incredibly proud she was to be part of the community team and the important work we do caring for patients.
‘She brought pride and passion to her work every single day and made such an incredible difference in the lives of so many people in South Tyneside and Sunderland.’
‘Dedicated and highly experienced’ HCA Jodon Gait, who died on 25 April, worked at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
Trust chief executive Matthew Hopkins said: ‘Colleagues who worked most closely with him describe Jodon as a dedicated, passionate, caring colleague, a quirky character who always put patients at the centre of everything he did, who had a great sense of humour and who will be massively missed by all of the team.’
Mr Zuniga, who worked at CHD Living's Surrey Hills care home, came to the UK 12 years ago from the Philippines to make a better life for his family, a friend said, and had received his British citizenship in February.
‘He was the centre of our Surrey Hills team and the centre of his family’s world, and he will be sadly missed by everyone that knew him.’
Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust paid tribute to ‘much loved’ HCA Janice Glassey, who died on 24 April.
Chief executive Colin Scales said Ms Glassey had worked in the out-of-hours district nursing service for 14 years and was a valued colleague and friend.
Also known as Mary, Mahadaye Jagroop worked at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham, where she died on 22 April after contracting COVID-19.
‘Mary was a respected and loved member of our team and touched the lives of many in her distinguished career as a nurse,’ said Lisa Stalley-Green, chief nurse at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.
Family and colleagues have paid tribute to nurse and great-grandmother Angie Cunningham, who died at Borders General Hospital in Scotland on 22 April.
A joint statement from NHS Borders chief executive Ralph Roberts and Ms Cunningham’s famiy said: ‘Angie worked in NHS Borders for over 30 years and during this time was a much-respected and valued colleague at the hospital, providing amazing care to patients.
‘She was very proud to be a nurse, alongside her love for her family.’
Katy Davis, who worked as a nurse in child health at University Hospital Southampton, died on 21 April after testing positive for COVID-19.
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said Ms Davis, 38, had an underlying health condition and had been unwell for some time before she was admitted.
Trust chief executive Paula Head said: ‘Katy has been described by her colleagues as a nurse who people would aspire to be like, and nursing was more than just a job to her.’
In a message to staff, the trust’s chief nursing officer Gail Byrne also confirmed that Ms Davis’s twin sister Emma, a former colorectal surgery nurse at the trust, died on 24 April after testing positive for COVID-19.
Described as warm and caring, HCA Sharon Bamford worked on the haematology/oncology ward at Singleton Hospital in Swansea.
Her death on 21 April follows that of her husband Malcolm, who also died after contracting COVID-19. Their son was admitted to hospital with the virus but has since been discharged.
Ms Bamford had worked at the hospital for a number of years, and on the haematology/oncology ward since 2005.
Jan Worthing, director of Singleton Hospital, said: ‘Sharon was highly thought of by all the patients who used the services and was loved by her colleagues and friends in the team.
‘Her sad death will leave a massive void within the team and the Singleton family.’
Mental health nurse Grant Maganga died on 20 April at Tameside Hospital after 11 years in nursing, most recently at Hurst Place in Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester, a rehabilitation unit for men with severe mental illness and complex needs.
‘Grant was an exceptional nurse who cared deeply for his patients and lit up the room with his infectious smile and positive personality,' said Clare Parker, director of nursing at Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the unit where Mr Maganga worked.
‘Grant worked in a mental health rehabilitation unit, and this is a stark reminder that all nurses are on the front line, no matter where they work. His death is another tremendous loss to our nursing community.’
Healthcare support worker Kirsty Jones died on 20 April. She had worked for 24 years at NHS Lanarkshire, where she was described as a selfless and bright member of staff.
Her husband Nigel said: ‘Kirsty devoted her life to caring for others. She was a wonderful wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and nurse.
‘She was larger than life itself and was a constant source of happiness for all who were around her... a void has opened in our hearts that will never be filled.’
Described as an extraordinary woman who refused to retire, carer support specialist Ms Fagan was well known at Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust and in the London borough of Hackney.
She first qualified as a nurse in 1966, before working as a community nurse and across the hospital sites for the next 54 years.
Paying tribute to her, trust chief executive Tracey Fletcher said: ‘She refused to fully retire, and although she did reduce her hours she was often to be found meeting relatives and supporting staff in the hospital when she wasn’t due to be.
‘She was a passionate advocate for the patients and their relatives, exercising influence throughout the discharge process, including advocating for patients’ ongoing care needs, to the extent that she often pushed at the boundaries in these discussions on behalf of the patient.’
Ate Wilma Banaag
Nurse Ate Wilma Banaag worked at Watford General Hospital for almost two decades. She had arrived in the UK from the Philippines in January 2001.
A fundraising page set up in her memory describes her as ‘a much-valued staff nurse on the ward, a very caring, compassionate, soft-spoken and hard-working nurse,’ adding that in her final working days she was caring for patients on a COVID-19 ward. ‘She was a devoted mother of three and a loving wife,’ it says.
Mental health nurse Ade Dickson had been working in the Barnet Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team at the time of his death.
Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust in London, which announced his death, said: ‘Ade was a highly respected colleague who will be deeply missed by his family, friends, trust staff and patients.’
HCA Chrissie Emerson was working at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, Norfolk when she died after testing positive for COVID-19.
In a joint statement issued on 20 April, Queen Elizabeth Hospital chief executive Caroline Shaw and chair Steve Barnett said: ‘The whole family at QEH is deeply saddened at losing Chrissie Emerson, who was such a valued colleague, and much-loved wife to Michael and cherished mother and grandmother.’
A mental health nursing lecturer at the University of Swansea, Brian Mfula will be remembered by colleagues as having ‘a generous spirit and warm personality’.
Ceri Phillips, head of the college of human and health sciences at the university, said: ‘Students have described Brian as an inspiring lecturer and role model who taught from the heart, and had a passion for mental health and nursing.’
Agency nurse Josephine Peter, also know as Josephine Matseke (Manini), died at Southport and Formby District General Hospital, Merseyside, on 18 April.
She had been working at the hospital on an agency contract since February and had been a nurse for 20 years.
Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust chief executive Trish Armstrong-Child said: ‘Josephine’s husband, Thabo, told me she was passionate, hard-working, always putting others before herself. She was "my heroine", he said.’
James Lock, chief executive of Altrix, the nursing agency that employed Ms Peter, said: ‘Josephine was a diligent nurse who was highly regarded and liked by the team. She would always go that extra mile and was a pleasure to work with.’
HCA Margaret Tapley, who was still working night shifts at the age of 84, died on 19 April.
She had most recently been working at Witney Community Hospital in Oxfordshire.
Her grandson, Tom Wood, paid tribute to her and said she had inspired him to become a nurse. ‘This phenomenal, committed, kind-hearted fighter was my grandmother and I am so hugely proud of her,’ he said. ‘She was my inspiration. 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.’
Patrick McManus, 60, had worked as a nurse for more than 40 years at Staffordshire Royal Infirmary and at the County Hospital in Stafford.
University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust chief executive Tracy Bullock said: ‘He was a lovable character and brought kindness and compassion to all his patients, which was acknowledged by the number of compliments and thank you messages he received.
‘He 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.’
Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust staff paid tribute to forensic services charge nurse Khulisani (Khuli) Nkala, who died on 17 April.
The trust’s workforce race equality network chair and clinical services inclusion lead, Wendy Tangen, said her colleague had been ‘a man of integrity, honour, wit, with a smile that lit up a room’, and would be missed dearly.
Many others said Mr Nkala was a fantastic nurse, role model, mentor and inspiration.
A community practitioner in the North of Tyne Street Triage Team, which delivers urgent mental health care, Steven Pearson died on 13 April.
A tribute from Cumbria, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust said Mr Pearson had dedicated his life to mental health and served the trust for more than 30 years, going out of his way to deliver the best possible care to those in mental health crisis.
His manager Claire Witten said: ‘Steven became known as a highly respected member of the team with a larger-than-life personality.
‘A committed member of the team, he loved his job and the team, always making us laugh, and he was renowned for his wicked sense of humour.’
HCA Ruben Munoz, who had worked at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust since 2011, died on 17 April.
Trust chief executive Michael Wilson said: ‘Ruben was a highly respected and talented nursing assistant who showed enormous dedication to caring for his patients every time he walked through our doors.’
Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong
Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, who was pregnant, worked as a nurse on a general ward at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital in Bedfordshire for five years.
She died on 12 April after her baby was delivered by caesarean section. The baby, a girl, was doing well, the hospital said in a statement.
Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief executive David Carter said: ‘Mary was a highly valued and loved member of our team, a fantastic nurse and a great example of what we stand for in this trust.’
Marie Curie nurse Barbara Sage, who had 40 years’ experience in palliative care, died on 12 April.
Marie Curie chief executive Matthew Reed said he had spoken to Ms Sage’s family, including her daughter, Donna, about the pain of being unable to say goodbye in person.
‘Donna told me how her mother had spent all her life as a palliative care nurse, holding the hands of dying people and hugging their loved ones,’ he said. ‘She told me how she and the rest of the family couldn’t hold Barbara’s hand as she was dying. They couldn’t hug her goodbye.’
He added that everyone who worked with Ms Sage could attest to her professionalism and commitment to patients.
Mental health nurse Gladys Mujajati was described as a much-loved member of the Derby City Community Mental Health Team.
She had an underlying health condition and had stepped away from work in the weeks before her death.
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Ifti Majid said: ‘Gladys was known to be a warm and caring individual, always looking out for her patients and colleagues, showing true compassion and empathy.’
Her friend, Keele University mental health nursing lecturer Niki Simbani, said: ‘She was an ever-smiling individual who was dedicated to her family, friends, patients and the profession.’
HCA Jenelyn Carter worked on the admissions ward at Morriston Hospital, Swansea and was well loved by all her colleagues and patients, Swansea Bay University Health Board said.
Morriston Hospital’s nurse director, Mark Madams, said: ‘Jenelyn would go the extra mile for anyone, and was a lovely caring person inside and out, with a heart of gold.’
Homerton University Hospital NHS Trust confirmed that staff nurse Michael Allieu, described as a key member of the team in the acute care unit, died on 18 April at Homerton Hospital in London.
Trust chief executive Tracey Fletcher said: ‘Michael was a vibrant, larger-than-life character on our acute care unit, and was well-known and very well-liked throughout the hospital.’
Known as ‘Des’ to her colleagues, HCA Lourdes Campbell worked at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust for nearly 13 years, and will be remembered as a ‘diligent and compassionate’ colleague.
Trust chief executive Fiona Noden said: ‘This is a terrible and poignant reminder of the situation staff are facing every day to help others… their continued courage and commitment to duty is inspirational and a comfort to us all in these difficult times.’
HCA Maureen Ellington died on 12 April.
Ms Ellington, who was in her early 60s, had worked for the NHS for more than 25 years.
Her manager at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, Suzanne Moss, said: ‘Maureen was a kind-hearted, compassionate and caring person and she brought all these attributes into her ward practice, which made her a highly valued member of the team.'
Rahima Bibi Sidhanee
Rahima Bibi Sidhanee, originally from Trinidad, worked at Grennell Lodge nursing home in London for more than 30 years before her death on 12 April.
She trained at London’s Edgware General Hospital in the 1970s, and was a registered nurse and former midwife with nearly 50 years’ experience.
In a tribute, Danny Shamtally, the director of Care Unlimited, which operates Grennell Lodge, said: ‘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.’
Filipino nurse Leilani Medel, who lived in south Wales, had worked as an agency nurse at hospitals in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board.
Rhian Eccleshare, director of nursing at Cardiff-based Hoop Recruitment, said: ‘The nursing profession has lost a warm-natured and beautiful nurse who cared for so many vulnerable people during her nursing career. Her absence will be felt and she will be missed.’
Josiane Zauma Ebonja Ekoli
An agency nurse at Harrogate District Hospital in North Yorkshire, Josiane Zauma Ebonja Ekoli died in hospital on 13 April.
Jill Foster, chief nurse at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said Ms Ekoli, known as Josie, was a much-valued member of staff.
Her daughter Naomie said: 'It meant everything to her to be a nurse, she’d been doing it for as long as I remember – more than 30 years.’
Nurse Melujean Ballesteros, who was originally from the Philippines, died at St Mary’s Hospital in London – the same hospital where she had worked as a nurse for nearly 20 years – on 12 April.
Speaking to the Press Association news agency her son Rainier said: ‘My mum was a dedicated and very caring nurse. She loved her work.’
A spokesperson for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs St Mary’s Hospital, said: 'Melujean was well-known across the hospital for her kindness and compassion.
‘She made a big impact on the lives of her colleagues as well as her patients. She will be greatly missed.’
Described by colleagues as 'beautiful and kind-hearted’, Donna Campbell was a healthcare support worker at the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff. She died at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff on 10 April.
A statement issued by the Velindre Cancer Centre said: ‘We will remember Donna as a hard-working member of our nursing team who was proud to work for the NHS. She had a beaming smile and an incredible laugh. Donna was human sunshine.
‘She was always supportive of friends and colleagues alike and had a passionate sense of fairness and equality.’
The death of Gareth Roberts, who became a nurse in the 1980s, was confirmed by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board on 11 April.
Mr Roberts had retired in 2014 but rejoined the board’s bank in 2015.
‘Gareth was well-known by everyone and was extremely popular, fun-filled and well-liked, always greeting everyone with, “Hello cariad (love)” when he saw them,’ the board said in a statement.
‘Staff say he was such a kind and helpful person, and that they learned so much from him. He had a lovely way with relatives and always offered the caring personal side, he was very much an “old school” nurse.’
A 51-year-old matron for older adult mental health services in Hillingdon, London, Sara Trollope died at Watford General Hospital on 10 April.
Helen Willetts, a director of nursing at Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘Sara guided many, many nurses – myself included – to a better understanding of how to care for older adults with mental health problems and dementia.
'We have lost a wonderful advocate for nursing older people.’
Julie Omar, who was 52, died at home on 10 April while self-isolating with COVID-19 symptoms.
The trauma and orthopaedics nurse worked at the Alexandra Hospital in Worcestershire.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Matthew Hopkins said: ‘Julie was a dedicated and highly experienced trauma and orthopaedics nurse.
‘I know she will be sadly missed by many.’
A continuing healthcare assessor for North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups, Amor Gatinao died on 10 April.
Jo Ohlson, accountable officer for the eight north west London clinical commissioning groups, said Ms Gatinao would be ‘hugely missed’ by her colleagues.
Her family said she was an exceptional nurse who took pride in her work.
They said: ‘The NHS meant more than work for our mum. Her passion for her job was greatly affected by the team that mentored, guided and supported her.’
Nurse Aimee O'Rourke, 39, died at the hospital where she worked, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent, on 9 April.
Julie Gammon, ward manager on the acute medical unit where Ms O’Rourke worked, said her team were devastated by the loss.
‘Nursing was something she had always wanted to do, although she came to it relatively late after raising her girls.
‘She was really growing and developing in her skills and confidence and I know she would have gone on to have a great career.’
Care home nurse Elsie Sazuze died on 8 April at Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham.
She worked for Wolverhampton-based agency Totally Care. Originally from Malawi, she trained and had worked at New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton.
Her husband Ken, who is himself training to be a nurse, told the BBC she was dedicated to helping people.
Nurse Leilani Dayrit, who worked at the Hospital of St Cross in Rugby, Warwickshire, died on 7 April.
Her daughter Mary described Ms Dayrit, who was born in the Philippines, as a compassionate woman who always put other people’s happiness and well-being before her own.
‘She was a very hard-working and dedicated nurse who loved to look after others, and because of this she was known as the “mother figure” to numerous family friends,’ she wrote on a GoFundMe fundraising page.
‘She was a perfect example of an optimist who kept looking on the bright side of things and encouraged everyone to do the same.’
Donald Suelto was a 51-year-old nurse who worked at Hammersmith Hospital in London. He died at his home on 7 April.
One of Mr Suelto’s friends, Alejandro Fernandez, paid tribute to him on Facebook, calling him ‘an enthusiastic nurse, full of life, (who) loved his NHS job and was a spirited friend with a loving heart.’
Mr Suelto, originally from the Philippines, had been registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council since 2003.
RCN London regional director Lisa Elliott said: ‘Donald was one of the many international nurses who came to the capital and took fantastic care of Londoners.
‘Our community, and his patients, will be eternally grateful for the care, compassion and dedication he showed every day.’
Alice Kit Tak Ong
Practice nurse Alice Kit Tak Ong, 70, worked for practices in the Barnet area of London. She died on 7 April after 44 years working in the NHS.
Her daughter Melissa said Ms Ong had loved the NHS, and called on people to value it as she had done.
‘My mother came here from Hong Kong to work for the NHS because she believed it was the best in the world,’ she said.
‘You see people clapping on the streets, but it shouldn't take something like this to bring the nation together to be thankful.
‘We should value healthcare workers in good times and bad times.’
Healthcare support worker Janice Graham of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde was the first NHS worker in Scotland to die as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, Inverclyde Health and Social Care Partnership chief officer Louise Long said Ms Graham, who died on 6 April, was a valued member of the district nursing and evening services team and had brought kindness and compassion to patients and colleagues.
‘Her bright and engaging personality and razor sharp wit will be sorely missed,’ she added.
Scotland’s deputy chief nursing officer Diane Murray said on Twitter: ‘Our deepest sympathies are with Janice Graham’s family at this very sad time. We thank her for her many years of service.’
HCA Glen Corbin, 59, had worked at the Park Royal Centre for Mental Health in Harlesden, London, for more than 25 years.
Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust announced his death on 4 April.
Claire Murdoch, head of the trust, described Mr Corbin as part of the ‘backbone’ of the team.
‘He was the go-to person who knew everything about the ward and how to get things done,’ she said.
‘Glen was a much-loved colleague and will be sorely missed.’
Formerly a nurse on the children’s cancer unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne, Rebecca Mack worked more recently for NHS 111.
Speaking to Nursing Standard, her friend Sarah Bredin-Kemp said Ms Mack had been self-isolating at home when her symptoms worsened. She died on 5 April.
Ms Bredin-Kemp described her friend as an incredible nurse.
‘It is really special and comforting that so many people are now coming forward to say Becca had looked after their son or daughter at the worst time of their life,’ she said.
Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool said staff nurse Liz Glanister died on 3 April. Her family described the loss as ‘simply beyond words’.
‘We would like to thank all of the staff at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital who did an amazing job of looking after Liz in her final days,’ her family said.
‘We would also like to thank her NHS family at Aintree University Hospital, who she loved so much.
‘There are so many heroes out there, just like Liz, who are all putting their lives in danger to help save ours, so please help them to be the best they can be and stay inside.’
HCA John Alagos, who worked for West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, died on 3 April.
A tribute to the 23-year-old on a fundraising website by Christine Pasno said: ‘He was one of the staff who selflessly helped to look after patients afflicted with COVID-19.
‘He was a very kind, funny and hard-working person. He was a good son. He continually supported his mum, dad and two siblings.
‘He had dreams to pursue university. Unfortunately, he will not be able to do this now.’
HCA Thomas Harvey, a 57-year-old father of seven, worked at Goodmayes Hospital in Ilford, London.
He died at home on 29 March after having felt unwell for several days.
Oliver Shanley, chief executive of the North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT), said: ‘Thomas was a long-standing, dedicated member of our intermediate care team. This is a huge loss to both NELFT and the wider NHS.’
Nurse Areema Nasreen died on 2 April at Walsall Manor Hospital in the West Midlands, where she had worked for 16 years.
She had started working at the hospital as a housekeeper, and also helped her two younger sisters obtain jobs there.
She became an HCA, but had dreams of being a nurse. Her sister Kazeema Afzal said Ms Nasreen worried that no one in her family had graduated, but her parents, husband and sisters all told her: ‘If you want to do it, do it.’
She gained her nursing degree in January 2019.
Speaking to Victoria Derbyshire on the BBC News Channel, Ms Afzal, herself an HCA, said her sister had developed a passion for caring for others as a young girl, looking after her grandmother.
‘We’ve lost an amazing nurse, but also we’ve lost an amazing person,’ she added.
Her sister fell ill soon after finishing a 12-hour shift, having chosen to go in and help colleagues when she was supposed to be on annual leave.
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