Barbara Sage, 68, from Bromley in south London, died in intensive care last Sunday after spending more than 40 years working in palliative care.

She was a Marie Curie nurse for 14 years, providing vital care and support on the front line to dying patients in the community.

Matthew Reed, chief executive of Marie Curie, told BBC Breakfast: “Barbara was a beautiful person. She was kind, generous, giving, fun.

“Mother, of course, grandmother, aunt, partner, and our hearts just go out to her family and those who loved her the most.

“This is a tragic loss of a member of the Marie Curie family as well, and has hit the whole Mary Curie family really hard this week.

“It’s a very, very, very special kind of person who becomes a Mary Curie nurse or doctor. These people, every day and every night, being with families who are experiencing the loss of a loved one.

“Sitting with people who are dying, caring for them, loving them, holding their hand, holding their hand physically, caring for them, but also holding their hand emotionally, and after people have breathed their last, being there to hold the family and to care for them as well.

“Barbara had an absolute passion for this work.

“It was a real, real deep, deep pain for her family, that Barbara had been there to hold the hands of so many people as they had died, that they weren’t able to be there to hold her hand as she died, and to hug her and to hold her and just be with her.”

“And in due course we’ll try and find a way in which we can have a way to mark Barbara’s death with her family and with the whole organisation.

“Just holding people. It’s such an example of really what Marie Curie does every day and night and is sort of stepping up to do even more so at the moment in the Covid-19 emergency of trying to hold the nation, to be there, to hold the nation’s hand.”

He said it is not known whether Ms Sage contracted Covid-19 in the course of her work.

Jenelyn Carter, Swansea Bay hospital

Swansea Bay University Health Board paid tribute to Jenelyn Carter, a healthcare assistant who died after being treated for coronavirus.

The health board said she had worked on the admissions ward at Morriston Hospital and was “loved by all her colleagues and patients”.

Mark Madams, nurse director of the hospital, said: “Jenelyn would go the extra mile for anyone, and was a lovely caring person inside and out, with a heart of gold.

“We are devastated by her death and offer our sincere condolences to her family and friends.”

Ruben Munoz, Surrey and Sussex NHS Trust

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