By Liz Crudgington
Tributes have been paid to an NHS worker described as going ‘above and beyond’ during the coronavirus pandemic.
Val Stimson, from Birchington, worked as a receptionist in the outpatients department at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital, but had also been helping with traffic management for the covid testing team, and on the front door handing out masks and encouraging people to wash their hands.
Val died at home on Tuesday after testing positive for coronavirus the previous week. She lived alone but had been in close contact with her family and her team, who had dropped off food parcels and care packages.
The 62 year old leaves behind daughters Tina and Kelly, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. She joined East Kent Hospitals in 2018 after working in banking for many years.
Her daughter Tina Bass said: “Mum was passionate about working for the NHS, and really liked the fact she could help people. She was strong-minded until the end and didn’t let on how ill she was.
“We were so proud of her. She made me as strong as she was. She was outspoken but we loved her for it, and we took it for granted that she would always be there.”
Kelly said: “She was my world, my best friend and soulmate. She was a very caring person and I love and miss her so much. She will always be in my heart and will never be forgotten.”
Val was devoted to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, although the pandemic meant she had not been able to spend as much time as she would have liked with the youngest members of the family.
Tina said: “She was not a conventional gran but she was a fantastic one and she really loved the children. She cared so much about other people; she was always worrying about her neighbour, and had a real drive to help people.
“We are heartbroken – she has left a big hole in our family that can never be filled.”
Chief executive Susan Acott said: “We are all deeply saddened to lose one of our Trust family and our heartfelt condolences go to Val’s family, friends and colleagues.
“She truly went above and beyond to support her team, the wider Trust and our patients, and was quick to volunteer when there was a task that needed doing.
“Val was a real character who will never be forgotten and she will be remembered for her dedication and absolute commitment to helping our patients and her team.”
Cathy Brett, outpatient services hub manager, said: “Val was a very valued, very loved member of the team.She was a friend to everyone and cared about all the people she came into contact with.
“She is going to leave such a gaping hole in the team and we will miss the many kindnesses she showed us all.”
Val’s funeral is yet to be arranged.