Matthew Tovey, a third-year student nurse and an organiser of the pay protest in Merthyr Tydfil, told NursingNotes; “It is one thing working on the front line saving the lives of strangers, but it is another thing when as a result of this call for help, healthcare staff found themselves fighting for their own lives also.
“The families of these healthcare workers, our colleagues, who lost their lives were on our minds continuously throughout the pandemic; every time we heard another member of the NHS family pass away it was a gut-wrenching experience – we felt loss.
“Due to COVID restrictions, Saturday the 08.08.20 was the first opportunity we could pay our respects to those who died in the fight against COVID-19 – it was an integral part of the day.
Matthew continued to talk about wanting to lay 640 flowers “for every member of staff” who died to date.
“A colleague, Linda Martin started selling bows she had made to be able to afford the flowers, however, ASDA in Merthyr Tydfil kindly donated every flower for free. The Reverend Charlotte Rushton also led a beautiful service outside a local church and held two-minutes silence.
“This has been a distressing and frightening time for ALL those involved and we can not imagine what their families are going through.”
Co-organiser Rhian Bethell, a senior staff nurse, added; “During the pandemic far too many healthcare workers sadly lost their lives. We didn’t just lose colleagues, families lost mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, every single person was something to someone.”
“As I laid the flower I said cysgu’n dawel cariad to remember Gareth Roberts.”