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FAMILY’S HEARTACHE Husband's tearful tribute to hero mum who passed away from Covid-19 after giving birth

Mum Samantha Willis never had the chance to hold her newborn baby before passing away

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Mum Samantha Willis, pictured here with husband Josh and one of their older children, didn’t meet her newborn baby for fear of passing on the virus

Mum Samantha Willis, pictured here with husband Josh and one of their older children, didn’t meet her newborn baby for fear of passing on the virus

Mum Samantha Willis, pictured here with husband Josh and one of their older children, didn’t meet her newborn baby for fear of passing on the virus

Hero pregnant mum Samantha Willis never even got to even hold her newborn baby before passing away from Covid-19.

The healthcare worker, who spent the pandemic helping others, gave birth to her baby just days before she died from the virus - but in a particularly cruel twist of fate, she wasn't able to hold little Eviegrace in case she passed it on to her newborn daughter.

The devastating revelation came as her heartbroken husband Josh paid tribute to his wife.

Josh Willis says Samantha (35), who was pregnant at the time of contracting coronavirus, says his brave wife put up a "strong fight" for 16 days before finally succumbing to the cruel illness.

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Tributes were paid to mum Samantha Willis

Tributes were paid to mum Samantha Willis

Tributes were paid to mum Samantha Willis

He also revealed mum-of-four Samantha never got to properly meet Eviegrace or hold her in her arms.

Little Eviegrace is at home with her family and doing well according to dad, and he has vowed to make sure she knows all about her hero mum.

He says Samantha passed away "peacefully" on Friday in Altnagelvin Hospital in the Intensive Care Unit.

Posting on Facebook on Friday night, Josh said: "I never thought I would be writing something like this for years to come, if ever.

"Today has been the worst day of my life. I have lost the love of my life Samantha to Covid-19.

"Samantha had put up a strong fight for the last 16 days but in the end just wasn't enough.

"She did her best to come home to her family and beautiful children and shortly after 12 o'clock in the early hours of this morning passed away peacefully in ICU in Altnagelvin Hospital.

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"Myself, her mother and two eldest children were by her side. She was in no pain and was comfortable when she slipped away.

"Whilst in hospital she also had to deliver our newest addition to the family, who she has never met properly or held in her arms. I will make sure that Eviegrace will know all about the mother she will never meet.

"I will never let anyone forget you and I will remember all the special times and experiences we shared together.

"The children including Holly and Shéa are now my main priority."

Josh says Samantha will now be the family's "Guardian Angel".

"All I want to do now is make Samantha proud. I'm sure she's already looking down and proud of how we are coping," he continued.

"We are also proud of her, she was a wonderful, loving and caring person and she has been our superhero the last few weeks. She is now our guardian angel and she will remain in our hearts and thoughts for ever more.

"We love you loads and miss you. We wish we could only have helped you get home to live the rest of your life with us.

"I will never stop loving you and we will do our best to make you proud until we see you again. Sleep tight my Queen. Love you."

And Josh had a special word of thanks to all the hero staff at Altnagelvin Hospital.

He said: "Thanks to all the staff at Altnagelvin Hospital who met Samantha on her journey. You are all truly wonderful people and I will never forget what you have done for Samantha and our family."

Last night UUP leader Doug Beattie passed on his condolences to the family as he attended a vaccination centre in Criagavon.

"It's tragic, It's extremely sad," he told the Sunday World. "I pass on my condolences to the whole family as such a difficult time.

"It serves as a reminder just how cruel this virus is. It is ruthless."

And Alliance Party MLA Paula Bradshaw, who sits on the Health Committee, warned further tragedies would take place if more people didn't get jabbed.

She told us: "The ongoing tragedy of deaths and serious illness from Covid-19 re-emphasises the importance of vaccination. The unvaccinated are vastly over-represented in intensive care units.

"Vaccination with both doses reduces the likelihood of serious illness or death many, many times over.

"While the facts in this case remain unclear, I would urge everyone who does not have a medical condition which stops them from doing so to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and to urge family members and friends to do likewise - for themselves and for others. Otherwise the tragedies will simply continue."

Health officials have, in recent months, been calling for pregnant women to come forward to be vaccinated after a concerning rise of unvaccinated pregnant women turning up in hospital with serious symptoms.

Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew took to Twitter after the tragic news, posting: "Devastating news that a young mother has died of #COVID19 in one of our hospitals.

"The threat to life is real. For the love of God, please get vaccinated against this deadly virus."

A close friend of Samantha also took to social media to pay a tribute to her, describing her as the "kindest" she had ever met in her life.

Rosemarie Kemish said: "This girl is the most beautiful, kindest, loving, selfless person I have ever met in my life.

"I don't know how I'm gonna function without her. That person u could say anything to & she would never judge u or see u any different. My heart is broken & I'll never ever forget the amazing person she was.

"Not only was she an amazing friend to me but a loving wife to Josh Willis & an ever better mother to her children.

"There's gonna be a massive hole in my life & I just hope she gives me the strength to say goodbye. She didn't deserve this at all but now we will all have a beautiful angel looking over us.

"My bestest friend sleep tight angel."

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