VIDEO: Emotional farewell to retired NHS hero from Skegness who died of coronavirus

Neighbours, friends and family lined a Skegness street to say their goodbyes to a retired NHS hero,  who died at her home of Covid-19, promising that her legacy will live on.

Jeannette Field lost her battle after becoming sick a week after her husband, Robert, had been admitted into Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, where for many years she had worked as a secretary to heart specialist Dr Cyril Nyman. She was 71 years old.

Her husband was in a coma when she passed away on Saturday, April 4. He is now recovering in hospital and was unable to attend the funeral.

Family and friends worked with Frank Wood Funeralcare to so that neighbours in Sea-croft Drive, who were not able to attend Tuesday’s funeral at Alford Crematorium due to government guidance, could say their farewells.

An emotional funeral procession begins for Jeannette Field, watched by neighbours in Skegness.

Order of service booklets were made available for neighbours outside Jeannette’s home, where petals had been scattered along the verges.

As the hearse arrived for Jeannette’s final journey to Alford Crematorium, one of her favourite songs, Bryan Adams’ ‘Everything I do (I do it for you)’, was played by her close friends Lisa and Stephen Walker, who live opposite.

After a few minutes, while neighbours, family and friends paid their respects, the hearse moved off as another favourite - a lone trumpet piece entitled ‘a Silencio’ was played by Stephen Walker. As the procession passed by, neighbours clapped in Jeannette’s honour.

Among family members in the funeral procession were two of Jeannette’s children, Adrian and Michelle. Jeanette’s other son, Mark, was unwell and unable to attend. At Alford Crematorium they were only allowed to stand outside, while the funeral took place inside and was recorded by video. Stephen’s wife, Lisa, said family and friends had wanted something positive to come from the sad day.

Jeannette Field, 71, was a retired NHS ward sister and passionate fundraiser.

“Jeannette was a selfless and caring woman who devoted most of her life to the NHS,” she said. “She worked for over 25 years, working her way up to ward sister and at times was in charge of two wards at The Manor Hospital and George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton.

“When her husband, Robert Field, of 28 years was relocated to Skegness on business, they decided to stay and made the resort their home. Jeanette used her medical skills and went on to work for over 10 years as secretary to Dr Cyril Nyman, a heart specialist at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston. Dr Nyman described Jeannette as ‘an incredible woman’.

“Together, Dr Nyman and Jeanette helped raise money to invest towards the HESCA appeal. They aimed to purchase a scanner, which they successfully did, with Jeannette working tirelessly on various fundraising events.

“The HESCA appeal then went on to become ‘The Pilgrim Heart and Lung Fund’ and all donations in Jeannette’s name will be sent there.

A lone trumpet piece entitled 'a Silencio' is played by Jeannette's close friend and neighbour Stephen Walker.

“When she retired from her role at Pilgrim, she worked for a short time at Beacon Medical Practice in Skegness and eventually stepped away from the profession altogether so she could concentrate her time on her family.

“Sadly Robert contracted Covid-19 on Friday, March 27, and was taken directly to Pilgrim, but within 12 hours his health deteriorated and he was put into an induced coma and ventilated. Jeannette was very worried about Robert and was even told he was fighting for his life on a couple of occasions. Eight days after Robert began his own fight with Covid, which kept him in a coma for nearly fours weeks, his beloved wife Jeannette had passed away at home from the terrible virus.

“Robert is now out of danger and is making positive steps to a full recovery and, once he was strong enough, he was told by his daughter Sarah that Jeannette had passed away. He is heartbroken.”

The family wanted to highlight the fact that during this awful time, the final arrangements had not been straightforward. Jeannette was the first Covid victim to be taken into the care of Frank Woods Funeralcare. It was highlighted to the family that there was no PPE for the GPs to go into the directors to sign for the death certificate.

Family members pay their respects.

This only exacerbated the emotional turmoil the family was already having to deal with and they didn’t want another family to experience the same problems. Jeannette’s daughter, Michelle, contacted the Houses of Parliament, the Mayoress of Boston and the local MP, Matt Warman. Mr Warman took action to make sure that there was sufficient PPE for the GP practices.

“The family feel this is the lasting legacy of the proactive measure Jeannette took in her own career as an NHS servicewoman,” said Lisa. “Now all funeral directors will have adequate PPE, so families don’t have to worry about gathering legal documents and closing the final chapter of their loved one’s life.”

Robert retired recently and is a dedicated father and grandfather. He is also a former president of the Rotary Club of Skegness, and some members also lined the street to pay their respects.

Neighbours clap in Jeannette's memory.
Neighbours pay their respects.
The order of service was available for neighbours among petals that had been scattered outside Jeannette's home.