'I could have cried at the amount of people with no masks' - Nurse's plea to public after husband dies from Covid 19

Dessie Blackadder

Reporter:

Dessie Blackadder

AN Intensive Care Unit nurse who lost her husband to Covid 19 has begged the public to adhere to anti-virus regulations in an emotional statement.

Noeleen Henry laid her husband, Alan, to rest on Saturday.

The death of the well known Ballymena man has rocked the local community and his wife’s heartfelt postings on social media have spread a powerful message urging people to act responsibly.

Noeleen Henry was spurred to post of her despair on the eve of Alan’s burial after witnessing some maskless shoppers during a visit to a local supermarket to purchase funeral clothes.

She said: “I could have cried, the amount of people not wearing masks, social distancing and carrying out life with no cares in the world.

“I wish I had all these people’s foresight that they will never be in my position.

“They have no clue who will be infected, who will live and who will die. I only wish I could have Alan for even five more minutes. Why can people not accept this pandemic is real, what’s a few months until the vaccine is rolled out?”

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A popular Ballymena man has died after contracting coronavirus only a few days after his wife, who is an intensive care nurse, begged local people to treat the entire pandemic situation with the utmost seriousness.

The death of Alan Henry, who was well known throughout the local area,sparked a wave of sympathy for his wife Noeleen and family.

Alan passed away at Antrim Area Hospital on Wednesday after being admitted to the intensive care unit.

Mr Henry's wife, who has been working as a nurse in the ICU where her husband died, explained in a Facebook post last week that they had both contracted Covid-19 in December despite taking every precaution.

She told social media users in a post which was widely shared that she had lost her sense of taste and smell but revealed that Alan had been put on life support.

And she added, poignantly : "What makes things even worse is I am a staff nurse working there in the same unit having been redeployed back there since March."

After seeing social media posts in which people complained about restrictions, Mrs Henry responded: "The economy will recover, the kids will catch up on their education and you will all be let out of lockdown but at the minute I don't know how long I will have my husband for, my three children will have a father for or my four grandchildren will have a grandad for.

"Please for everyone's sake, this Covid is real. For myself the symptoms are minor but my hubby is not so lucky, please be vigilant and don't take any chances.

"Please pray for Alan. He thinks I'm the strong one but I've never told him it's actually the other way round. We would be lost without him."

Sadly, Alan lost his battle against the virus and news of his passing caused an outpouring of grief and sympathy from local people, many of whom recollected Alan’s sense of humour and characteristic smile.

Mr Henry was well known for his association with the local pool league and he was a staunch fan of Ballymena United FC. Many fans of the club will remember him working in the old BUFC Social Club.

He was a former member of Antrim Area Hospital's rapid response unit before joining the dementia team.

Unison's Northern Health Branch said it was "devastated" to hear of the passing of their friend, colleague and member.

Chairperson of the branch Stephanie Greenwood stated: "The branch officers, stewards, members of Unison Northern Health Branch and Unison regional office extended their deepest sympathies to Alan's family, friends and colleagues.

"We would like to reiterate Noeleen's plea to all of our members to take the Covid crisis seriously, to stay safe and look after each other. We offer any help or support the family need at this awful time."

Sports Bond and Ballymena United were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Alan.

Alan was a steadfast Sky Blue supporter over the years and once worked in the old BUFC social club.

He was also a Sports Bond agent and ran a successful agency when he was manager of the Fairhill bar in Ahoghill.

In latter years he was a member of Margaret Downey’s agency.

A death notice said Mr Henry will be "very sadly missed by his loving wife, family and many friends".

Due to the current health and safety regulations, Mr Henry's funeral was private.

The funeral cortege left from James Henry Funeral Services in Ballymena at 12.30pm on Saturday before burial at Ballee Cemetery. Friends stood to pay their respects along the route.

Donations in lieu, if desired, can be made out to the Northern Trust via James Henry Funeral Services.

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