Tributes are being paid to an "amazing role model" who worked for the NHS in Bristol for more than three decades, after she died with coronavirus.

Sandra Hicks, who worked for North Bristol NHS Trust as an apprenticeship teacher, died on Saturday 23 May after testing positive for Covid-19.

She worked for the NHS for 35 years.

Her family said in a statement that her positivity and encouragement for them "was like a button holding them all together."

Sandra was at the heart of a large and loving family.

Joint family statement
Sandra started her career at Frenchay Hospital, where she worked for 15 years. Credit: PA images

Sandra trained as a nurse at Frenchay School of Nursing and worked at Frenchay Hospital for 15 years after qualifying in 1985.

As well as working in a local care home, Sandra later joined North Bristol NHS Trust as an apprenticeship teacher.

Andrea Young, Chief Executive at North Bristol NHS Trust, described her as an "extremely valued member of our hospital family" who will be "greatly missed."

She continued: "She had dedicated her life to caring for people and worked for the Trust for over 20 years and the wider NHS for 35 years.

"She was a hardworking, committed individual that took true pride in the development of others. She was always on hand to provide support and guidance to the team and took great satisfaction in seeing others develop to reach their full potential."

Sandra was a true inspiration to her colleagues and learners that she supported within the Trust. There are so many people that have developed both personally and professionally because of her commitment to them as an individual.

Jonathan Hall, Sandra's line manager

Tributes have also poured in from many of Sandra's close colleagues.

Becky Holmes said she was a "friend, mentor, sounding board, shoulder and a good old push in the right direction" when it was needed.

Other colleagues have said Sandra was an "amazing role model" who was "always putting her patients first."

We had a lot of fun together as she had the most wonderful sense of humour and a twinkle in her eye that brightened the most challenging of days on wards 19 and 206.

Colleague tribute from North Bristol NHS Trust

A spokesperson from North Bristol NHS Trust has requested her family are given privacy at this difficult time.