Doctors, a nurse, a charity worker: eight of the lives lost on UK’s worst day of pandemic

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  • June 19, 2020
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Doctors, a nurse, a charity worker: eight of the lives lost on UK's worst day of pandemic thumbnail

Dr Edmond Adedeji, 62

Edmond Adedeji.

Adedeji was a locum registrar in the emergency department at Great Western hospital in Swindon. He died after being cared for in the intensive care unit, having tested positive for Covid-19. Adedeji, left behind a wife, three children and three grandchildren.

His family said: “We as a family are grateful to God for the life of Dr Edmond Adefolu Adedeji. He died doing a job he loved, serving others before himself.”

Nazir Awan, 68

Nazir Awan.

Awan was a leading Birmingham businessman and founder of the Institute of Asian Businesses. He died on 8 April at Birmingham’s Good Hope hospital, leaving a wife, daughter, son and six grandchildren.

His nephew Waheed Saleem, the assistant police and crime commissioner for the West Midlands, said: “He was a true gentleman and I will cherish his words of wisdom.”

Umar Afzal, 71

Umar Afzal.

Afzal was a broadcaster and certified interpreter who specialised in translating Urdu and Pashto into English. He had a weekly show on south Asian TV and radio channels. His younger brother Nazir Afzal, a former chief crown prosecutor for north-west England, said: “I remember his ability to reduce stress and conflict with ease. His joy at life. For being my friend, not just my brother.”

Nazir believes his brother contracted coronavirus during a visit to their 91-year-old mother while she was being treated for pneumonia at Birmingham’s Heartlands hospital. After testing positive, he was told to remain at home as he had no underlying health conditions, Afzal said. Umar appeared to be improving but then died on 8 April.

Elsie Sazuze, 44

Sazuze, from Birmingham, was a nurse at a care home in Staffordshire. After falling sick at home, she was taken to Good Hope hospital in Sutton Coldfield where she died, leaving her husband, Ken, a 22-year-old son and a daughter aged 16.

Originally from Malawi, she trained and worked at New Cross hospital in Wolverhampton and was employed by the Wolverhampton-based care agency Totally Care.

A childhood friend, William Fungatira, said: “Elsie was a naturally quiet person but very caring, friendly, cheerful and resilient. She had a passion to always help others. She was dedicated to helping people.”

Dr Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, 53

Abdul Mabud Chowdhury.

Chowdhury, a consultant urologist at Homerton hospital in Hackney, east London, died after spending 15 days in Queens hospital, Romford.

In March he wrote a Facebook message to Boris Johnson outlining the urgent need for PPE for frontline staff and calling for testing for healthcare workers to be fast-tracked. He told Johnson that healthcare workers “are in direct contact with patients” and have a “human right like others to live in this world disease-free with our family and children”.

Philip Glanville, the Labour mayor of Hackney, hailed Chowdhury as a “hero” who died serving the borough. In a tweet, he added: “A sobering reminder of the lives being lost to keep us safe & the contribution BAME staff make.”

Sohrab Baghri, 63

Baghri was a civil engineer, campaigner and charity worker who specialised in water and sanitation projects in developing countries. He was a former adviser to the development charity Plan International. He died on 8 April.

His daughter Linda said he had travelled to more than 65 countries. She said: “He was a character and believed in standing up for what’s right. Our dad was a man of principles and stood against injustices.”

Dr Fayez Ayache, 76

Ayache, a GP, had retired but had been working part-time in North Clacton, Essex. He had volunteered to help refugees from his native Syria, where he trained as a doctor before moving to the UK in 1973. He died on 8 April after being diagnosed with pneumonia and Covid-19.

His daughters Layla and Katie said: “He was the most kind-hearted, loving, generous and caring man we knew and he was an incredible and amazing doctor, having worked as a GP, ENT consultant and surgeon in the NHS and private sector for over 40 years. We are truly devastated and will miss him dearly. He was a true foundation in our lives.”

Maureen Sharp, 74

Maureen Sharp.

Maureen and her husband, Vic Sharp, died from coronavirus within hours of each other. The couple, from Fife, were admitted to Victoria hospital in Kirkcaldy on 5 April. Maureen died three days later. Vic, a former miner who later worked at Longannet power station, died less than 24 hours after his wife.

On the day of their funeral, neighbours, friends and relatives stood outside their homes as their hearses passed through the village they had lived in. Only their daughters Yvonne and Linda and four other family members were permitted to attend their burial.

Yvonne told the Courier: “After this is all done, we’ve decided that we’re going to have something at the cemetery again, and then a big celebration after for them both. They don’t deserve just six people at their funeral.”