For more than three months our heroic carers and NHS staff have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic as they put their lives on the line to help save others.
And today, the Daily Mirror pays tribute to the selfless doctors, nurses, paramedics, care workers and hospital employees who died after becoming infected in the battle against the virus.
It comes ahead of a final round of applause to thank the NHS this coming Sunday – the 72nd anniversary of its creation by Labour ’s Nye Bevan.
Throughout the crisis we have been marking each of these individual tragedies in a roll call of those who paid the ultimate price doing their job.
The death now toll stands at an estimated 400 across the UK.
There are, of course, other key workers who have lost their lives – bus drivers, station ticket collectors, supermarket workers and teachers.
Our front page for Thursday pictures 182 health and care staff who have died.
One of those on our tragic list is mental health worker Charles Kwame Tanor, 39.
His widow Prudence told how he was determined to keep working even as it became apparent how infectious Covid-19 could be.
The acute ward nurse said: “Work was his passion. He’s been doing care work for 20 years. He was determined to carry on, the same way I was. I remember him saying, ‘You know, Pru, during this pandemic is when people need us the most. So if we don’t do it, who will?’”
Charles was originally from Ghana but lived in Coventry with Prudence, their four-year-old son, also called Charles, and his stepson Malachi, 12.
He died on March 11. Charles had been travelling to work at Eden Place Mental Health Nursing Home in Leamington Spa, Warks, on public transport.
Prudence told how little Charles has been badly affected by his death.
She said: “It took him quite a while to understand that his dad’s not coming home.
He used to wait for him by the window in the mornings. He kept saying, ‘Mummy, why is Daddy not coming home?’”
Despite her loss, Prudence is determined to go back to work as soon as possible. She added: “I should be out there helping people.”
That is typical of the courage shown by around 150 of her fellow nurses and auxiliaries who died with Covid-19.
One was Vivian Chikwan Ng, of Middleton, Gtr Manchester.
The 28-year-old had a four-year-old daughter and was planning her wedding to partner Tony Sheridan.
Another was Keith Dunnington, 54, from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, whose mum Lillian, 81, and dad Maurice, 85, also died with the virus.
Dunstable University Hospital nurse Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, from Luton, who died after giving birth by caesarean while infected, so her daughter could be saved.
Husband Ernest Boateng said she felt too “helpless” to ask bosses to stop working, even when warned it was unsafe.
He added: “She was very kind.”
Among the doctors who have died is GP Dr Karamat Mirza, 84, from Clacton, Essex.
The dad-of-four, who had seven grandchildren, had worked in the town since 1974 after emigrating from Pakistan in 1966.
His widow Estelle, 71 – who also had the virus – said: “There has been an enormous outpouring of love for him. He had treated three generations of many families.
“With hindsight, I would never have allowed him to work. But he never thought this would happen, although it did shock him that other doctors were dying.”
Another who died was Dr Tariq Shafi, 61, who was the lead consultant for haematology for 13 years at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, Kent.
Son Taimur told recently how even after becoming ill, his dad continued with telephone clinics while struggling with his breathing due to the virus. He added: “Dad passing has been such a massive loss to the family and it’s left such a void.”
For Dr Shafi and so many more, the country will come to a halt on Sunday at 5pm for the applause.
TV networks will break away from normal programming to mark the moment.
Major public buildings including the Royal Albert Hall, Blackpool Tower, the Shard and Wembley Arch will be lit up in blue.
Boris Johnson called it the “biggest ever thank you day”.
He said at Prime Minister’s Questions today: “It will provide the perfect moment to thank not just our amazing NHS and care workers but also those key workers who have helped in the national effort in our fight against coronavirus.”
Unison union general secretary Dave Prentis added: “When the pandemic hit, health and care workers stepped up to the challenge, aware their work meant increased chances of getting the virus.
“Sadly some, as we now know, were at considerably greater risk. We owe them all so much. Their dedication must not be forgotten.”
Tragic roll call
Victims include: Edmond Adedeji, Augustine Agyei-Mensah, Mary Agyeiwaa Agyapong, Esther Akinsanya, Ibilola Aladejana, John Alagos, Safaa Alam, Juliet Alder, Richzeal Albufera, Saad Al-Dubbaisi, Michael Allieu, Fiona Anderson, June Anderson, Krishan Arora, Medhat Atalla, Norman Austria, Fayez Ayache.
Dr Abdel Wahab Babiker, Habibhai Babu, Melujean Ballesteros, Sharon Bamford, Amrik Bamotra, Ate Wilma Banaag, Robert Black, Margaret Blyth, Ricardo Bonsato, Mike Brown, Elvira Bucu.
Remigio Cabansag, Donna Campbell, Lourdes Campbell, Jenelyn Carter, Sue Cairns, Elma Cavalida, Philomena Cherian, Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, Linda Clarke, Andy Collier, Glen Corbin, Andy Costa, Lynsay Coventry, Patricia Crowhurst, Linnette Cruz, Angie Cunningham.
Johanna Daniels, Brian Darlington, Katy Davis and twin Emma Davis, Gerallt Davies, Amarante Dias, Ade Dickson, Dominga David, Leilani Dayrit, Keith Dunnington, Mohinder Singh Dhatt, Momudou Dibba, John Doyle, Edem Awo Dzigbede.
Julie Edward, Josiane Ekoli, Adekunle Enitan, Amged El-Hawrani, Sadeq Elhowsh, Maureen Ellington, Adil El Tayar, Chrissie Emerson, Barry England, Jenny Esson.
Sophie Fagan, Cecilia Fashanu, Donna Fitzgerald, Afua Fofie, Amanda Forde, Jodon Gait, Mick Gallagher, Amor Gatinao, Abdul Gellaledin, Eleuterio Gibela, Liz Glanister, Janice Glassey, Charlie Goodwin, Janice Graham, Simon Guest, Peter Gough.
Joselito Habab, Syed Haider, Peter Hart, Thomas Harvey, Sandra Hicks, Van Lang Hoang, Sandra Huggan, Emelita Hurboda, Nassar Hussain, Karen Hutton, Dr Thaung Htaik, Mahadaye Jagroop, Carol Jamabo, Khalid Jamil, Fiona Johnstone, Kirsty Jones.
Tony Kabia, Paul Kabasele, Rajesh Kalraiya, Sonya Kaygan, Oscar King Jr, Nasir Khan, Joanna Klenczon, Grace Kungwengwe, Prem Lal, Lalaine Lopez Pesario, Kenneth Lambatan, Eileen Landers, Ray Lever, Suzanne Loverseed, Mike Lowe.
Rebecca Mack, Grant Maganga, Martin Mansell, Dawn Marshall, Kamlesh Masson, Resy Manalo, Rizal Manalo, Allan Macalalad, Josephine Matseke, Dean McKee, Patrick McManus, Leilani Medel, Melonie Mitchell, Miharajiya Mohideen, Karamat Mirza, Barbara Moore, Lillian Mudzivare, Gladys Mujajati, Ruben Munoz, Jane Murphy.
Poornima Nair, Areema Nasreen, Evelyn Nicolas, Vivian Chikwan Ng, Khulisani Nkala, Paul Nutt, Andrew Ekene Nwankwo, Gill Oakes, Onyenachi Obasi, Eyitolami Olaolorun, Julie Omar, Alice Kit Tak Ong, Dr James Oniah, Mary Oniah, Aimee O’Rourke, David Orr.
Yusuf Patel, Anujkumar Kuttikkottu Pavithran, Steven Pearson, Julie Penfold, Emily Perugia, Mark Piggott, Mamoona Rana, Vishna Rasiah, Jitendra Rathod, Phil Rennie, Ian Reynolds, Elbert Rico, Manjeet Riyat, Gareth Roberts, Neil Ruch.
Alfa Saadu, Barbara Sage, Julius Sana, Elsie Sazuze, Sharon Scanlon, Jennie Sablayan, Anton Sebastianpillai, Dr Abdorreza Sedghi, Tariq Shafi, Pooja Sharma, Vivek Sharma, Ann Shepherd, Mohamed Sami Shousha, Carlos Sia, Dr Furqan Ali Siddiqui, Mandy Siddorn, Rahima Bibi Sidhanee, Alanzo Smith, Kevin Smith, Liz Spooner, Andy Stamp, Mark Stanley, Donald Suelto, Catherine Sweeney.
Laura Tanner, Charles Kwame Tanor, Margaret Tapley, Jun Terre, Andy Treble, Sara Dee Trollope, Sylvia Tideswell, Peter Tun, Craig Wakeham, Cheryl Williams, Stephanie Willocks, Mark Woolcock, Jermaine Wright, Habib Zaidi, Larni Zuniga.