Ernesto Tamayo - known to his family and friends as Boyet - passed away in Cardea, Peterborough on May 4 aged just 45, leaving behind wife Kathy and nine-year-old son Matt.
Ernesto was born in The Philippines, and worked in the NHS for 20 years after moving from Davao city. He worked as a nurse in ward B11 at Peterborough City Hospital stroke unit ward.
During the pandemic, he was unable to spend time with his family as he worked hard on the front line to care for patients and help them.
In tribute to Ernesto, his wife Kathy - who is also a nurse - said: “A loving, selfless husband, father, son, brother, colleague and friend. No words can express how grateful and proud I am to have been chosen by God to journey life with you.
“I know you know everyday I thank God I woke up knowing that I love you and you loved me.
“Life has not been easy for you and at a very young age despite this, your love for others and your family flows like a river. Your smile and happy presence is contagious so that you never fail to make others, especially your friends and patients have a smile on their faces.
“I also witnessed how close your heart is to our creator, in times of your great sorrow He is your refuge, and you never let go of your faith, even in your darkest hour.
“Your love for nursing and compassion to patients is second to none, you are an example of what true nursing is, you go above and beyond and everyone you worked with knows that.
“The numerous recognition of excellent service is proof to that.
“During the harrowing months pandemic, you were a frontline worker, with fear and anxiety brought to you by not being able to be near your beloved son and wife, you brushed it off and fought tirelessly for the patients and the NHS, refused to be off work for the last 18 years of your service for the NHS.
“Your family and profession is your passion and without them you always said “what am I”?... you left us so soon but things you gave, share and have done is more than anyone could spend in one lifetime....I love you so and I am very proud of you.”
Friend and colleague Narlo Sumilhig described Ernesto as ‘a hero’ and paid tribute to him, saying many people were still in disbelief he had died.
Narlo said: “He was funny, he liked to make people laugh. He has cheeky personality. He liked to cook for friends and enjoys feeding them when they come over to visit his house. He ws a very generous man: he has always been supporting his family in the Philippines even before he came to the UK.
“He was selfless, To a point wherein they have to sell their properties to raise funds to pay for medical bills for family members.
“At work nursing is his passion. His colleagues will always be made to feel at ease when he is working because they know he is highly reliable and gets the job done.
“He will be greatly missed by his family in the Philippines and by his wife Kathy and son Matt. He has left a void in the lives of people that are close to him even acquaintances. Friends that learnt of his passing are still in shock and cried when they found out. I personally still wake up in the morning in disbelief he is not coming back.”
Before moving to Peterborough, Ernesto won and was nominated for a number of nursing awards while working in Watford.
Now a fund-raising page to support Kathy and Matt has been set up in Ernesto’s memory by Narlo.
The page has already raised nearly £9,000.
Narlo said: “Boyet has been my close friend for many years and we are deeply saddened by his loss.
“With Katherine’s consent we are fundraising to raise money for the sudden cost of his funeral and anything extra to support his family.
“It is a very difficult time for Kathy financially and everyone in the community that knows him are still in deep shock.
“We are appealing for your kindness and support so we can give Boyet a send off befitting a hero frontliner whose sole purpose in life is to serve and care for the sick and vulnerable.
“Any donation big or small will go a long way and Boyet’s family will be extremely grateful.”
To donate to the campaign, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/raise-funds-friend?utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer