'Always in our hearts' - Tributes to some of the Suffolk lives lost to coronavirus

This newspaper is paying tribute to the Suffolk lives we have lost during the coronavirus pandemic

This newspaper is paying tribute to the Suffolk lives we have lost during the coronavirus pandemic - Credit: Archant

More than 680 people in Suffolk have now died after contracting coronavirus. Each one a person's loved one, and a family changed forever. Here we remember some of those lives lost during the pandemic.

Jemma Gates

Jemma Gates from East Bergholt

Jemma Gates, 35, died in April after testing positive for Covid-19 - Credit: Vince Gates

Jemma Gates, from East Bergholt, died at the age of 35 after testing positive for the virus.

The 35-year-old personal assistant has been described by her family as a "bubbly and smiling" girl who loved to put a smile on other people's faces. A Mitra at Ipswich Buddhist Centre, she had travelled the world and loved to sing and act before meeting her "Prince Charming" Rob last year.

She was admitted to hospital in April, and died 10 days later on April 25.

Her father, Vince Gates, said his daughter "packed a whole life into her 35 years".

Mr Gates said: "Jemma loved being with people and with her beaming smile bought immense joy and happiness to her family and friends.

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"Jemma was our baby, our bubbly smiling girl who when we parted it was always with a hug and a kiss, except on this last occasion as we were unable to see her after she went into hospital on 15 April.

"Her last words to me were 'I love you to dad', she died 10 days later. Always in our hearts, always in our memories our darling daughter Jemma."

John Chapman

John Chapman worked as a carer in Felixstowe for over a decade and dedicated many years of his life

John Chapman worked as a carer in Felixstowe for over a decade and dedicated many years of his life as the manager of Bluebird Care Home - Credit: Archant

Care home manager John Chapman, 43, was another person who died after contracting the virus during the first wave earlier this year.

The carer, who worked at Bluebird Care in Felixstowe, was known for his dedication to helping others – regularly taking on extra shifts while becoming a dementia and Parkinson's champion.

He died at The Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge.

His parents, Susan and Mark Chapman, said in a tribute: "John was a well known, hard working member of the care sector in and around Felixstowe.

"He loved to talk and engage with others as well as wildlife photography, particularly at Minsmere.

"He is greatly missed by his family, friends and colleagues."

Ian Ward

Former Stowmarket Middle School teacher Ian Ward

Former Stowmarket Middle School teacher Ian Ward, who died after testing positive for Covid-19 - Credit: Submitted by family

Former Stowmarket Middle School maths teacher Ian Ward lost his battle against the virus in June.

The family man from Debenham, 85, has been described as "kind, caring and funny" known for his dry wit and love of his family and golf.

His daughter, Susanna Woodsford, said she and his fellow children Martyn and Nicola will forever remember their "beloved father".

She said: "He was the kindest gentlest father and grandfather, also friend to many.

"We love and miss him very much.

"Forever in our hearts and thoughts."

Malcolm Pridmore

Malcolm Pridmore

Malcolm Pridmore ran a burger van in Shotley Gate and worked at a care home in Ipswich - Credit: The Pridmore family

Malcolm Pridmore was another Suffolk man who dedicated his life to helping others.

The care home worker and burger van owner from Shotley was known as the "very happy man who was always smiling and joking around".

He worked at Spring Lodge Care Home in Ipswich alongside three of his daughters and his partner of 20 years, Paula.

The grandfather-of-nine spent more than one month at Ipswich Hospital, including time spent on a ventilator in the intensive care unit, before losing his battle to the virus on May 13.

His daughter Jess said he was the family's "rock" and will be remembered for his loving and caring attitude.

His step-daughter Amy Reevely added: "He loved life and Paula with all his heart. He enjoyed holidays to Greece, especially Corfu.

"He also loved owning the burger van in Shotley and having a laugh with all the locals. He was the best grandad and he is missed terribly."

  • This newspaper has been inviting families to send in their own tributes to their loved ones who have lost their lives to the virus. To submit your own tribute, follow this link.

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