Thanet’s hero NHS workers have paid an emotional tribute to their colleague Aimee O’Rourke, whose funeral took place this afternoon (April 15).
Devastated staff fought back tears as they clapped in unison outside the hospital’s main Ramsgate Road entrance in honour of the 39-year-old nurse who tragically died on April 2 after contracting Covid-19.
A beautiful floral tribute to the NHS was visible as Philip Gore of Margate funeral directors, Gore Brothers, led the procession at 12.30pm while the sun shone brightly overhead.
Key workers applauded as the procession then made its way past with members sombrely following behind. The service was attended by close family members only in compliance of Government lockdown rules.
The mum-of-three died in the hospital’s Critical Care Unit, leaving behind daughters, Megan, Mollie and Maddie.
Aimee joined the Acute Medical Unit as a newly qualified nurse in 2017 and ward manager Julie Gammon said the whole team was devastated by her death.
She said: “She was such a kind and caring nurse, and she had a really special relationship with her patients and colleagues.
“Nursing was something she had always wanted to do, although she came to it relatively late after raising her girls.
“She took some time out to care for her mum after she was diagnosed with cancer and she was determined to return and to make her mum proud.
“Aimee was a really valuable part of our work family and would always offer to help if she could. She was really growing and developing in her skills and confidence and I know she would have gone on to have a great career.”
When Aimee was first brought into the hospital with symptoms of COVID-19, she asked for Julie and her colleague was able to sit with her in the emergency department.
Julie said: “It was an honour to be able to be with her and to provide some comfort and I am so glad that I was able to do so.”
Daughter Megan, 18, previously said: “In our eyes she truly earned her NHS crown the very first day she had her first shift as a nurse.”
A gofundme appeal raised £36,590 to help Aimee’s family and East Kent Hospitals Trust has confirmed a memorial will be installed to honour the nurse’s memory.