Those we’ve lost – the loving tributes to some of our local virus victims
PUBLISHED: 06:00 26 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:33 26 April 2020
Today we are paying tribute to just some of those people in Suffolk and Essex who have sadly died after contracting coronavirus.
Former Stars of Suffolk winner John Hood, from Felixstowe, died at the age of 66 after contracting coronavirus.
Following John’s death, Suffolk Chief Constable Steve Jupp spoke of his sadness at the news on Twitter. John’s partner Nita Crossley said: “John was a kind, generous and courageous man. He lived life to the full and he will be hugely missed.”
In 2016, John won a Stars of Suffolk award for diving into the sea off Felixstowe beach to rescue four girls.
Despite having a pacemaker to correct a slow heartbeat, the PCSO swam 250m to the aid of the girls who were in danger of drifting out to sea in a rubber dinghy.
Dr Fayez Ayache
Much-loved Suffolk GP Dr Fayez Ayache was described as the epitome of kindness” and an “NHS hero” by his family.
Family, friends, colleagues and former patients took part in a #ClapForDrAyache earlier this month to honour the service of the popular Suffolk doctor who tragically died of Covid-19.
Described by his family as being “diligent, generous and honourable”, Dr Ayache was born in Syria but lived in Raydon and worked at Constable Country Medical Practice for 33 years. He sadly died at Ipswich Hospital on Wednesday, April 8 after contracting coronavirus.
Hundreds of tributes poured in for the highly-respected doctor and friend on social media after his death.
“Lovely, vibrant” grandmother Jane Jay, 75, of Ixworth, was the first person in Suffolk to die after contracting coronavirus.
Jane, who died in West Suffolk Hospital, worked as a social worker in Bury St Edmunds and Saxmundham for a decade before moving to France to open a bed and breakfast near Calais. In the late 70s she spent some time training women working in telesales at the East Anglian Daily Times.
Her son, Alex, said: “She was so very strong. She was so strong and matter of fact even at the end, she even cracked a joke with me.”
She was described as “lovely, eccentric but so full of life”, and was a loving grandmother, and her last request was to hear the voices of her daughters over the phone before she died.
Ronald Courtney was a “remarkable” man who continued to be a glider pilot up to the age of 92.
Ron, who died in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, had a real passion for aviation and was the oldest flying member of Rattlesden Gliding Club near Bury St Edmunds.
He ran a jewellery shop in Suffolk before retiring and moving to Docking in Norfolk. He still regularly made the 90 miles trip from his home to the club, clocking up more than 200 flights since joining five years ago.
Kevin Western, his instructor and club chairman, said: “Ron was a truly amazing character and he will be hugely missed. He was immensely brave and demonstrated his zest for life.”
Charles ‘Sonny’ Wright
Charles ‘Sonny’ Wright, who died at the age of 99, was a war hero who went behind enemy lines to protect Britain.
The veteran, who died at the Willows Care Home in Ipswich, lived in Rushmere St Andrew for many years.
He joined the 161 field ambulance unit when he was only 15, saying that he was 17. Three years ago, he was presented with a prestigious war medal and a diploma from the Government of Norway at a special ceremony.
His son Clive said Sonny would “do anything for anyone”, adding: “He was so laid back, a true gentleman, really supportive and a huge family man,”
Great-grandmother Florence Fisher died just days before she was due to celebrate her 100th birthday, at Britten Court care home in Lowestoft.
Her granddaughter-in-law, Lisa Moore, paid tribute to her, saying: “She was one of the most kind-hearted people. ‘Little nanny’ is what she was known by, and she was a little bundle of joy who always had a smile on her face and didn’t have a bad bone in her body.”
She was originally from London, but had lived in Scratby for much of her life with her husband Robert before moving into the care home.
Her daughter described her as “a kind, loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother”, and said: “A light has gone out in our lives.”
Tributes have poured in following the loss of Alvin Henderson, from Ipswich, who died aged 44 after being treated for coronavirus at Ipswich Hospital.
Alvin’s death has come as a huge shock to his close family and friends, who described the music-lover as being “kind, charismatic, thoughtful and the dearest friend”.
His father, Sevond Henderson described the former Stoke High School student as a “model son” and said he had a “very good heart”,
Alvin’s friend, Darren Partridge, said: “Alvin was the softest, kindest and most understanding buddy you could ever have and he was my closest and dearest friend”,
Grandfather Pat Bewley, who died soon after his 80th birthday, has been described as “kind, loving and popular”.
The former Scout leader, from Stowupland, died at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.
His son, Paul, said he had received many nice messages via Facebook following the death of his father, who suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and had been isolating at his home.
Paul said: “He always put others first and he was very well liked. He was a Scout leader for a number of years, and he was just a really nice warm and gentle man.”
Family members have paid heartfelt tributes to “perfect father” Mike Fish, who died aged 73 at Ipswich Hospital.
Mike, of Ipswich, previously co-owned and ran East Anglian Builders Supply Co in Felixstowe with his brother David for 25 years,
Wife Elaine said: “He was always there for his girls. You just knew that when there was some problem, he would be able to sort it out. He was totally Mr Reliable.
“He always put us first and our elderly relatives - even though running a business is an absolutely full-time occupation, he was always devoted to helping his family.”
Rosalita Selby, who died aged 75 after a two-week battle with the virus, was described by her daughter, former nurse Maria Smallwood from Ipswich, as “the funniest person you could meet”.
Ms Selby, from Billericay, died in Basildon Hospital. The 75-year-old was one of nearly 4,000 people who were given infected blood in the 1970s after complications from her last childbirth saw her rushed to hospital for emergency surgery.
Her daughter has warned everyone to obey lockdown rules, because coronavirus can attack anyone. In tribute to her mother, she said: “She was a character and was very well known in her community.
“She struggled since the 1980s but she has always coped with it. She was someone who just picks themselves up and goes on.
Tributes have been paid to “fun and loving” father Dean Greenaway, 62, who sadly died at Ipswich Hospital after contracting Covid-19 while living at a care home.
The former handyman, who loved fishing and gardening, moved to St Osyth from London 18 years ago, and worked as a bricklayer, painter and decorator.
He had spent the last three years of his life in a care home in Ipswich following an operation which left him with brain damage.
His partner, Michelle Joyce, said he was “the love of her life” and a great dad. She said: “He loved being in the garden, he loved sunbathing and he was a big fan of the outdoors.”
“Brilliant engineer” Brian Keable, 83, who died at Beccles Hospital, was a keen charity fundraiser.
The great-grandfather had completed the Bungay Half Marathon, the 1999 London Marathon, the Three Peaks in the Yorkshire Dales, and a 50-mile bike ride, all for local causes.
His daughter, Georgie Keable, described him as a “great father”, and said: “he was always very involved in the community and knew a lot of people.”
The former Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer was a member of the Beccles branch of the Royal Naval Association, and owned Keable Engineering in Aldeby.
“Gentle, caring” 82-year-old Dennis Ely, who was a resident at Asterbury Place care home, died in Ipswich Hospital after contracting coronavirus.
His daughter, Lisa Hovell, said: “He really was a beautiful person inside and out, always willing to help anyone he could. He was quite a solitary person, only really feeling comfortable with his family. He will be missed by so many people.”
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