Coronavirus: Strabane church bells ring in memory of NHS nurse

Patrick McManusImage copyright
Family handout

Bells have been rung in churches in Strabane, County Tyrone, in memory of a nurse who died after contracting Covid-19 last weekend.

Pat McManus, 60, was originally from the town but lived in England where he worked in a Staffordshire hospital.

The Church of the Immaculate Conception – where Mr McManus used to worship – rang its bells at 15:00 BST on Sunday and other local churches joined in.

His niece Aileen Mullen said it was “a beautiful thing to do to remember Pat”.

Family and friends came to pay their respects to Mr McManus who contracted Covid-19 at work.

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Aileen Mullen

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Aileen Mullan said the people of Strabane had been “very kind” to her family

“This week has just been so surreal,” added Ms Mullen.

“The response of the Strabane community has been so good. From many messages of support to putting up things on social media. They’ve really been so kind in all their messages.

“I just want to thank everyone who has been so very kind.”

Independent councillor Raymond Barr, who helped organise the tribute, said: “We wanted to remember Pat as many people were shocked to hear about his death.

“The work that he did, and all the front-line workers continue to do, is very much appreciated by everyone.”

The parish priest at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, said: “It’s very fitting that we gather here today to reflect on the life of service that Pat gave to the NHS over 40 years.

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Fr Declan Boland is parish priest at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, where Mr McManus worshipped

“He had a reputation for always helping others and was kind and considerate.”

Fr Declan Boland also thanked all the key workers, “not only the doctors and nurses and health care staff but everyone who is helping us through this crisis”.

Rev John White, the Church of Ireland rector at Christ Church, Strabane, said he felt it was important all denominations took part and showed support for Mr McManus’ family and all of the front-line workers.

“As it has often been said, this disease makes no distinction,” he said.

“This is a way we can identify with those in the front-line, with those in the NHS, all of the staff in hospitals and those in nursing homes.

“It isn’t much, but it is one way we can show that we are with them.”

Mr McManus is survived by his partner Lena, three sons and five grandchildren.

His family in England say they have been moved by the tribute and thanked the people of his home town for remembering him in this way.

BBC News

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