NHS nurse still working night shifts at 84 dies after contracting coronavirus

19 April 2020, 15:51

Margaret Tapley, 84, passed away on Saturday
Margaret Tapley, 84, passed away on Saturday. Picture: Social media

By Megan White

An NHS nurse who was still working night shifts aged 84 has died after contracting coronavirus.

Healthcare assistant Margaret Tapley passed away on Saturday night after catching Covid-19.

She worked at Witney Community Hospital in Oxfordshire.

Her granddaughter Hannah posted a touching tribute to Facebook, saying Margaret was the “most hardworking, caring and perfect woman out there.”

She wrote: “I am heartbroken to write this post. I never thought this day would ever happen.

“Unfortunately, last night my grandma (Margaret Tapley) passed away from COVID-19.

“She was 84 and the strongest woman I’ve ever met in my life. I considered her as an additional parent and I’d never be able to do anything I have done without her.

“I am so proud to call her my grandma. She was the most hardworking, caring and perfect woman out there.

“Devoting her life to others and working for the NHS doing night shifts as a nurse at her age!

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“So many people will have such amazing memories of her as she affected so many people’s lives in such a positive way.

“One of my many favourites will be how excited she always got when we saw each other and the messages she would send me before every competition to motivate/calm me down.

“Everyday she would text and phone me sometimes talking about the most random things and I will miss this extremely.

“She was one of my biggest fans and would support me through everything. I’m not quite sure how to adapt to this but I know she will be watching everything and supporting myself and all my family just in a different place.

“She will never ever EVER be forgotten. We all loved her so much and she will be extremely missed. There won’t be a day that goes by that we all won’t miss her. RIP.”

Oxford Health Chief Executive Stuart Bell paid tribute to Margaret. He said: “She was a legend on the ward, and more widely throughout the whole hospital. She had worked there for many years, and was remarkable in that she stayed with her team well beyond the point when many others would have retired – she was 84.

“She was also remarkable in the way she provided calm reassurance, support and encouragement to her colleagues, and compassion and care to her patients.

“Margaret knew Coronavirus posed a risk, and if she had wished she would have been perfectly justified in self-isolating, but she wanted to continue in her role, doing the job she loved. She embodied all that is best in those who work for the NHS.

“She was such a central figure in the life of the ward that she will be greatly missed by all those who work there and by those who knew her across the Trust.”

One of Margaret’s grandchildren, Tom Wood – a senior charge nurse in an A&E Department – described his grandma as his ‘inspiration’.

He wrote: “She was a huge reason as to why I am a nurse today. She took huge pride in her work but was so humble. She embodied the nursing spirit.

“For anyone who worked with her or knew her, that spirit that we all saw and felt lives on in us.”