AN "inspirational" healthcare worker who "embodied the nursing spirit" and was still working night shifts at the age of 84 has died from coronavirus.
Margaret Tapley, who was still working regularly up to her death, passed away last night after catching the killer bug.
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At least 60 frontline workers have now lost their lives while fighting Covid-19.
Doctors, nurses and key workers have died after contracting the deadly virus, many of whom had come out of retirement to help.
The government is facing mounting criticism of the inadequate personal protective equipment it is providing to hero healthcare workers.
Paying tribute to Margaret, her granddaughter Hannah Tapley, who has competed for Team GB in the high jump, said: "Unfortunately, last night my grandma passed away from Covid-19. She was 84 and the strongest woman I've ever met in my life.
"I considered her as an additional parent and I'd never be able to do anything I have done without her.
"I am so proud to call her my grandma. She was the most hard working, caring and perfect woman out there. Devoting her life to others and working for the NHS doing night shifts as a nurse at her age!
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"So many people will have such amazing memories of her as she affected so many people's lives in such a positive way.
"One of my many favourites will be how excited she always got when we saw each other and the messages she would send me before every competition to motivate or calm me down.
"Everyday she would text and phone me sometimes talking about the most random things and I will miss this extremely. She was one of my biggest fans and would support me through everything.
"I’m not quite sure how to adapt to this but I know she will be watching everything and supporting myself and all my family just in a different place.
"She will never ever EVER be forgotten. We all loved her so much and she will be extremely missed. There won't be a day that goes by that we all won't miss her."
Another one of Margaret's grandchildren, Tom Wood, also a nurse, described her as his "inspiration".
He wrote on Facebook: "She was a huge reason as to why I am a nurse today. She took huge pride in her work but was so humble. She embodied the nursing spirit.
"For anyone who worked with her or knew her, that spirit that we all saw and felt lives on in us.
"Grandma may have been called home in what feels all too early for us left behind but the values, spirit and giving nature that she brought to the world is carried on in us that we're touched by her life."
The number of NHS workers killed by coronavirus has nearly doubled in a week after more victims from the front line were named yesterday.
The government has insisted it's working "around the clock" to provide healthcare workers with PPE, but there have been concerns supplies of items like gowns are not reaching staff.
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Yesterday, we backed a proposal by Lord Ashcroft to honour our health heroes with the gallantry gong given for acts of bravery that did not take place in battle.
A No10 spokesman said: “The NHS is doing a fantastic job and the nation will want to find a way to say thank you when we have defeated this virus.”
SAS hero Andy McNab added: “The award of a George Cross would show an emotional appreciation.”
We are asking readers to sign the petition online at thesun.co.uk/georgecrossfornhs.
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