‘He was the epitome of kindness’ – Family pays tribute to Suffolk GP who died after contracting coronavirus

Family pays tribute to Dr Fayez Ayache who has tragically died after contracting coronavirus. Pictur

Family pays tribute to Dr Fayez Ayache who has tragically died after contracting coronavirus. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The family of Dr Fayez Ayache have paid tribute to the “diligent, generous and honourable” grandfather who worked for the NHS in Suffolk for more than 40 years.

Dr Ayache has been described as the “epitome of kindness” by his devastated family following his tragic death on Wednesday, April 8, aged 76, after testing positive for coronavirus.

Dr Ayache was born in Damascus in Syria and moved to the UK in 1973 to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor, taking his first post as a GP at Constable Country Medical Practice.

He worked at the practice in East Bergholt for more than three decades in a number of different roles – as a GP, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) consultant and specialist – and later became a Senior Partner before his retirement three years ago.

His eldest daughter Layla says her father, who lived in Raydon, was “very dedicated to his work” and had come out of retirement to work part-time at the North Clacton Medical Group.

He only stopped working during the pandemic due to being over the age of 70 and being instructed to stay at home.

Dr Ayache leaves behind Layla and her sister Sarah, Sarah’s wife Katie, and his grandaughter Paisley – all of whom he was very close with and played an integral part of their lives.

Most Read

Speaking of their heartbreak, Layla said: “We are obviously devastated, especially with the current restrictions in place as it is difficult to grieve as a family.”

Dr Ayache – who had been self-isolating at his Suffolk home – was taken to Ipswich Hospital on Thursday, April 2 with symptoms of Covid-19 and died just six days later.

Layla continued: “Dad was the epitome of kindness, he was diligent, generous, honourable, a very peaceful man and he was very dedicated.

“His main passion in life was his family, especially his grandaughter Paisley, and of course his work – they are what he truly lived for.”

Dr Ayache was also a big supporter and fundraiser of refugee charities here in Suffolk, as well as collecting blankets, clothes, medical equipment and donations to send out to his home country of Syria which was devastated by war and violence.

Layla and the rest of the Ayache family say they have been overwhelmed by the support and the kind messages at this difficult time.

She said: “We are so grateful for the kind messages of support and everyone’s thoughts and prayers, however the most important thing people can do for us and for dad is to stay at home, stay safe and be kind to one another.

“We feel this is what dad would have wanted.”

Pete Keeble, practice manager at Constable Country Medical Practice, has also paid tribute to his former colleague.

He said: “After retiring in 2017 Dr Ayache continued to work in General Practice and also as an ENT specialist at Ipswich Hospital. He also played a leading role working with charities to help refugees fleeing from the conflict in his native Syria.

“He will be profoundly missed by staff, patients, friends and colleagues whose lives he touched though a long and very distinguished career. Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.”

People have been reacting to the news of Dr Ayache’s death on social media, with hundreds of tributes pouring in for the highly-respected doctor and friend.

Thomas Street called Dr Ayache a “wonderful man and a wonderful doctor” and said it was a “privilege to know him”.

Rachel Bach added: “Dr Ayache was always so kind and professional and he always had time to give to his patients no matter how small or large the problem. Our thoughts are with his family.”

David Baksh said: “Our thoughts are with his family at this sad moment. A friend and wonderful doctor and a pillar of our community.”

A full list of our coronavirus coverage can be found here and you can listen to our daily podcast for all the latest updates.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter