VIDEO: Staff, family, friends and the public pay tribute to four lost Covid-19 Wigan health workers

Medical staff bowed their heads in silence to mourn the loss of four Wigan health workers who contracted Covid-19.

By Charles Graham
Friday, 24th April 2020, 3:34 pm

Linda Clarke, a 66-year-old midwife, a paramedic, a man who worked for the borough hospital trust’s sterile services decontamination unit and now an auxiliary nurse have all succumbed to the virus or died with it in the past week.

A lone bagpiper played Flower of Scotland outside Wigan Infirmary in memory of proud Scot Linda in a gesture organised by her work colleagues.

WWL chief executive Silas Nicholls led the tributes to the four NHS workers.

Emotional scenes outside Wigan Infirmary

Ambulance drivers set their blue lights flashing in tribute to the late emergency worker and then the minute’s silence took place.

The Thursday evening tributes were immediately followed by the now traditional Clap for our Carers round of applause at 8pm which had an even bigger emotional impact on the borough’s hospital workers this time than it had in previous weeks.

The ovation was followed by the illumination of the hospital buildings in blue light and a poignant laser display by CDS Events of Coppull.

Linda, a delivery suite co-ordinator, had worked in the maternity service at Wigan Infirmary for 30 years.

Linda Clarke

She had also in the past worked as a community midwife.

Paying tribute to her, hospital bosses said she had “brought many new lives into the borough.”

Silas Nicholls, chief executive at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We can sadly confirm that a member of our staff, Linda Clarke, tragically passed away on April 17.

“Linda was 66 and worked in our maternity service for 30 years, bringing many new lives into our borough and caring for expectant mums in our community.

Balloons are released into the evening sky

“Linda had underlying health conditions and tested positive for Covid-19.

“She will be sadly missed by her colleagues and our thoughts and condolences are with her family, friends and loved ones. We will continue to support them throughout this difficult time.”

North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) bosses also paid tribute to a paramedic, a dad in his 40s who had worked at Wigan Ambulance Station and with NWAS for many years.

Friends have also set up a fund-raising page to support his family.

Chief executive Daren Mochrie said the service had “lost a very dear colleague.”

He said: “Our colleague was married with children and had worked for the trust for a considerable number of years.

“On behalf of everyone here at NWAS, including our patients and the communities we serve, I would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family.

“We would also like to thank our NHS colleagues for their professionalism and the compassionate care they have shown for our friend.

“This will deeply affect many people within the trust and we are supporting our staff during this very sad time.”

The ceremony came hours after it was announced that the hospital death toll of those who have contracted had risen by another two to 117, although there does seem to have been a slowing down in fatalities in recent days.