An NHS healthcare worker has been reunited with her daughters after nine weeks apart during the pandemic.
Suzie Vaughan, 43, from King’s Lynn, Norfolk, surprised Hettie, seven, and Bella, nine, after spending more than two months away from them while she worked on the front line of the health crisis.
In a video that quickly went viral on social media, she is seen sneaking up behind her children, who had been staying with her sister Charlotte.
Ms Vaughan told the PA news agency: “We had said it was only going to be for a maximum of a month, but nobody knew at the beginning of this how it was going to go.
“It was amazing to see them again, I missed the girls terribly.
“When they started crying I felt so bad but so relieved I was back with them.”
Ms Vaughan even had to spend her birthday apart from her daughters, instead working a 12-hour shift as an operating department practitioner in an intensive care unit.
She said: “Now they won’t let me out of their sight. When I put them to bed they said, ‘Am I dreaming mummy?’
“I do hope it doesn’t have a knock-on effect on them, but kids are quite resilient.
“It was a hard decision to make. I just had to think to myself it was to keep them safe and I was so worried in case I was bringing something back.”
The family will spend the next week together before the girls return to school on Monday.
Ms Vaughan said: “We still have patients coming in but it’s not as bad as it was, and now I am fully donned with PPE when treating a Covid patient.
“I just kept thinking of the girls, I wanted to keep them safe. And I was able to put more hours in at work and help the patients at work who needed it.”
She said she hopes the public will continue to follow the rules despite the gradual easing of lockdown.
“There are so many people making sacrifices and until you experience it yourself you don’t always appreciate what has gone out,” she said.
“To see people suffer the way I have had to see patients suffer, I wish people could see the other side of it and think of other people.”