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Family’s tribute to grandmother after virus death

PUBLISHED: 05:31 10 July 2020 | UPDATED: 07:23 10 July 2020

Hazel Blake was 83 when she died at Ipswich Hospital after a battle with Covid-19 Picture: BLAKE FAMILY

Hazel Blake was 83 when she died at Ipswich Hospital after a battle with Covid-19 Picture: BLAKE FAMILY

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Family and friends of an ‘endearing’ grandmother who died after contracting coronavirus in Ipswich have set themselves the task of raising £100,000 for the NHS in her memory by completing a gruelling 90-mile walk.

Hazel, pictured celebrating her 80th birthday, lived in Essex Picture: BLAKE FAMILYHazel, pictured celebrating her 80th birthday, lived in Essex Picture: BLAKE FAMILY

Hazel Blake, who lived in Essex, fell ill at the start of the year with what doctors originally thought was a chest infection.

As her condition worsened, she returned a positive test for Covid-19 and spent time in the intensive care unit at Ipswich Hospital, being “violently sick” at times.

She sadly passed away on April 20 at 83-years-old, around half an hour after her family were notified that her condition had slightly improved.

Mrs Blake left behind 10 grandchildren and was set to become a great-grandmother for the first time in August.

Gavin Blake, Phil Norgrove, Steve Williams and Alistair Sumner are all taking part in the Ridgeway challenge Picture: GAVIN BLAKEGavin Blake, Phil Norgrove, Steve Williams and Alistair Sumner are all taking part in the Ridgeway challenge Picture: GAVIN BLAKE

After her passing, the nurses treating Mrs Blake left her family a heartwarming note as they could not be with her when she died.

Her family, many of whom live in Suffolk, have now paid tribute to the NHS staff who cared for her in her final few weeks - and have announced plans to complete the Ridgeway walk between Wiltshire and Buckinghamshire next month to raise funds in her memory.

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A team of 10 people will tackle the challenge of walking along what is believed to be Britain’s oldest road over the space of three days.

They have set an ambitious target of raising £100,000, but Gavin Blake, Mrs Blake’s son, said the family would be grateful for donations of any size.

The money will be donated to NHS Charities Together and be used to support health workers, volunteers and patients through the ongoing pandemic.

The team’s challenge starts on Friday, August 21 and is expected to finish on Sunday, August 23.

Mr Blake described the experience of not being able to see his mother in hospital as she struggled with the virus as “harrowing”.

He said: “The nurses were absolutely wonderful treating her. Their bravery was humbling as they went home at the end of the day to see their families and carry on as normal.

“They were compassionate, hard working and desperate to save lives, even though they lacked any drugs to defeat this awful disease.

“My mother was a fantastic person. We all had endearing love for her. She always saw the best in everyone and was a fantastic role model.”

MORE: Drive-through flu jabs considered for Suffolk – but big shortfall in jabs predicted for the region


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