Hero nurse dies from cancer aged 46 after months working through coronavirus crisis

Emotional tributes have been paid to hero nurse Nicola Powell (Image: Leah Powell)

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A popular nurse described as "the most caring, loving person you could ever meet" has died aged just 46.

Nicola Powell, who worked as a lead nurse at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport for 15 years, was diagnosed with cancer after becoming ill during the coronavirus crisis.

Her devastated family said she was "so busy caring for everyone else that she forgot to care about herself".

Following her death on Monday, the mum-of-two's heartbroken family said she will be remembered as someone who would "go above and beyond for anyone", Wales Online reports.

In a joint statement, they said: "Patients and colleagues alike loved her for her caring, gentle nature.

Emotional tributes have been paid to Nicola Powell, who was just 46 when she died
(Image: Western Mail)

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"She always went the extra mile and had genuine empathy for those she nursed.

"When Covid-19 arrived she did not hesitate to do extra shifts with no thought for herself.

"Her cheery disposition and bubbly personality made her popular with everyone she came into contact with."

Nicola, fondly known as Nikki to many, was a staff nurse in the Welsh NHS for more than 20 years and progressed up the ranks to lead nurse. During her career she made many friends, including several of her former patients.

Nicola (back) worked in the NHS for 20 years and took on extra shifts during the Covid-19 pandemic
(Image: Western Mail)

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"She'd have people coming up to her in the street and thanking her for taking care of them in hospital because of how much she went out her way to ensure they were as comfortable as possible," the family added.

"She was loved by everyone around her and not one person had a bad word to say about her."

The family added that she was "overjoyed" at becoming a grandmother in February 2019 to little Isla-Rose Powell.

"The night of Halloween, Isla-Rose went to visit Nikki in hospital. Nikki knew this could be the last time she was ever going to see her granddaughter. As soon as they saw one another their faces lit up. They didn't leave each other's side.

"Despite everything she went through over the last few weeks, she was still only concerned about the rest of her family."

In the weeks leading up to her death, Nicola complained of incredible fatigue and pains in her arms and back. After fainting she was taken to the Royal Gwent where a variety of tests were carried out. However, it was only after she died that doctors discovered she had a rare form of cancer.

"She was so busy caring for everyone else that she forgot to care about herself," the family added.

A GoFundMe page has now been set up with the aim of helping towards funeral costs. Visit the fundraising page  here.

"Through the fundraising page we realised how many people genuinely loved her," the family added.

"There were lovely comments, tributes and condolences from so many people. It made us so proud that our angel had made a difference to so many lives.

"She was beautiful both inside and out and will be greatly missed by her broken-hearted, loving family, friends and colleagues. She was taken far to soon."

Nicola was said to be a keen DIY enthusiast, loved to shop and could "never resist a sale".

"But most of all she was genuinely a remarkable nurse and her absence will be greatly felt by us all."

She leaves behind her mother Carol, her partner John, her sons Travis and Kyle and their partners, her two sisters Louise and Mandy and her granddaughter Isla-Rose.