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Tributes to key workers who have died after contracting coronavirus

Tributes have been paid to two key workers who have died after falling ill with coronavirus.

Andy Howe and Elsie Sazuze were both key workers who died from coronavirus Credit: BPM Media / GoFundMe

Elsie Sazuze died this week. She was a nurse from Birmingham, who worked in a nursing home in Staffordshire.

Andy Howe, from Nuthall in Nottinghamshire was a bus driver, who died on 26 March after his condition deteriorated rapidly.

Mrs Sazuze has been described as a "well-liked, well-respected and hardworking nurse" by the owner of the nursing home near Burton-upon-Trent, where she worked.

Her sudden death has hit everyone at our homes extremely hard.

Elsie will always be remembered as a valued member of our care home family and our thoughts today are very much with Elsie’s husband and her children.

– Ann Mansell, Barton & Needwood House Nursing Homes owner
Elsie Sazuze grew up in Malawi Credit: GoFundMe

Elsie was married to her husband Ken and had two children - Andrew who's 18 and Anna who's 16.

She was employed by Wolverhampton-based care agency Totallycare, where Director Patricia Perrin grew up with Elsie in Malawi.

Not only have we lost such an incredibly sincere and valued member of our family, but someone I grew up with in Malawi. Our prayers, thoughts and practical support are with the family at this difficult time.

– Patricia Perrin, Totallycare

A fundraising page has also been set up to help with the costs for her funeral, which has already raised almost £3,000.

Andy Howe, right, with his partner Kevin Whelan Credit: BPM Media

Meanwhile, the partner of Andy Howe, who was 48, said they had plans for a 'fairytale wedding' before his death from coronavirus.

Kevin Whelan said Andy was "a charming, kind, and loving person."

He had beautiful blue eyes - you could get lost in them.

His wit and charm, he would give you the shirt off his back, he was such a kind and loving person.

He had a warm and bubbly personality - he could talk the hind legs off a donkey.

He was born in Nottingham and had worked for several bus companies in Bournemouth. He moved back to Nottingham in 2016.

He wanted to get back to his roots and had fond memories here. There was something about the people in the Midlands he liked, they were always warm and welcoming.

– Kevin Wheelan

Mr Howe worked for CT4N, the operating arm of Nottingham Community Transport, drove the Medilink service which took NHS workers to hospital.

His partner Mr Whelan, who's 37, said the pair had made plans to marry next year and couldn't wait to spend the rest of their lives together.

He said Andy started to develop a cold and body aches on 20 March, and decided to self-isolate after calling 111.

He continued to be in good spirits, and the couple watched TV together and played chess on 26 March, which Andy won.

However, later that same day his condition quickly worsened, with his temperature spiking and he began struggling to breath.

They called for an ambulance, but sadly he did not make it to hospital in time. The QMC hospital phoned Mr Whelan to come in.

They would not let me in the ambulance. The last thing I said to the paramedics is 'bring him back to me - I am going to marry him.' My last words were 'I love you.' I broke. I crumbled. I saw my world fall around me.

I can't say goodbye to him because it is a closed casket. It is like a really bad dream I can't wake up from.

This fairy tale has not had the ending we were looking forward to.

– Kevin Whelan

Kevin intends to scatter some of Andy's ashes in Barcelona, a city he was very fond of.

Kevin said Andy had no underlying health issues, and that the coroner confirmed to him that he died from COVID-19.

Mr Whelan's final message to people is a strong one:

"All those people who keep going out and flouting this self-isolation. This thing comes on so quick and aggressive and it does not care who it takes down."

– Kevin Whelan

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