Coronavirus: Hospital cleaner’s sister ‘begged her not to work’

Eileen LandersImage copyright Landers family
Image caption Hospital cleaner Eileen Landers insisted on going to work “to do her bit”, her sister said

A hospital cleaner’s sister has described how she pleaded with her not to go back to work, shortly before she fatally contracted coronavirus.

Eileen Landers, 67, who lived in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, worked at Queen’s Hospital in Burton-upon-Trent.

Her younger sister Margaret said the cleaner thought it was “important to do her bit” to help fight Covid-19.

She added tributes to the hospital worker were a lovely send-off as a normal funeral could not take place.

Image copyright Landers family
Image caption Ms Landers (left) had “quite a wild side to her” when younger, according to her sister

Eileen, originally from Tipperary town in Ireland, was the second-youngest of eight children.

Her sister said: “She had quite a wild side to her when she was younger. She liked to go out for a dance, she liked going out for a drink, and she always worked hard.”

She said Ms Landers had worked at Queen’s Hospital Burton since 2004, and “wanted to work in something that mattered”.

“She very much liked being part of the social scene at the hospital, she loved working on the children’s ward,” she added.

Margaret said she pleaded with her sister to not go back to work after consultant Amged El-Hawrani, who also worked at Queen’s Hospital, became one of the first medics in the UK to die from coronavirus.

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Mr El-Hawrani was one of the first medics in the UK to die of coronavirus

She said: “I remember I rang her and said, ‘Eileen why are you going to work? You’re 67, for God’s sake just go off sick, or give in your notice’.

“She told me, ‘now cleaners are really needed, why on Earth would I go off sick now, when I’m needed?’.”

She added her sister “would be so proud and so stunned” at the minute’s silence held at the hospital, and social media tributes, following her death on Sunday.

Her ashes will eventually be buried in her family plot in Ireland.

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