A “bubbly” nurse who came to the UK from South Africa to bring her “passion for care” to the NHS has died after contracting coronavirus.
Josephine Peter, who lived in Hayes, west London, had told friends she wanted to return home after 18 years to be with her children and granddaughter.
The agency nurse, 55, was sent to work at a hospital in Southport, Merseyside, and became ill earlier this month.
The hospital’s trust said her husband described her as “my heroine”.
Her friend and fellow nurse Cynthia Charles said Mrs Peter had been raised under the harsh apartheid regime in South Africa in the 1980s but had strived to maintain her schooling and gained her nursing degree in 1998.
She said she was “very kind” and “very outgoing, bubbly” and “had a passion for care”.
Miss Charles, from Barking, east London, added: “Her kids had gone back to South Africa. She was planning to go back as well, she just had a granddaughter and wanted to go back to support her family.”
Trish Armstrong-Child, chief executive of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, which runs Southport and Formby District General Hospital where she died on Saturday, said: “Josephine’s husband, Thabo, told me she was passionate, hardworking, always putting others before herself.
“She was ‘my heroine’, he said.”
James Lock, chief executive of Altrix, the nursing agency she was employed by, said: “Josephine was a diligent nurse who was highly regarded and liked by the team.”
Mrs Peter who was born in Tsakane, east Johannesburg, is survived by her husband and daughter Buhle, 21, and son, Bongani, 30.
An NHS recruitment drive led to her coming to the UK in 2002.