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WATCH: Nurse reunited with daughter after 77 days away from home

PUBLISHED: 11:38 11 June 2020 | UPDATED: 11:38 11 June 2020

Michael Jenkins is met on  his return to his Dereham home by daughter Florence, four.  Pictures: supplied by Michael Jenkins

Michael Jenkins is met on his return to his Dereham home by daughter Florence, four. Pictures: supplied by Michael Jenkins

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A mental health nurse spent 77 days away from home during the coronavirus lockdown so he could keep working.

Michael Jenkins with wife Emma and their children. Holly, 12, and Florence, four. Pictures: supplied by Michael JenkinsMichael Jenkins with wife Emma and their children. Holly, 12, and Florence, four. Pictures: supplied by Michael Jenkins

And his return to his Dereham home and the first hug with his youngest daughter in 77 days was shared on social media.

Michael Jenkins, 39, an assistant practitioner and mental health student nurse at the crisis team at Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT), said: “The day before the government announced lockdown, I moved from the family home to protect my wife, Emma, 35, who has underlying health conditions, and our two children. Holly 12, and Florence, four.

“No-one knew I would be away for 11 weeks. We didn’t know the lockdown would definitely happen or that my wife would later be classed as extremely medically vulnerable and be required to shield.

“I knew I had to move away in order to reduce the risk of exposure of the virus to my family and to fulfil my role within the mental health service, which I knew would become important during this time of uncertainty.

Michael Jenkins with children Holly, 12, and Florence, four.  Pictures: supplied by Michael JenkinsMichael Jenkins with children Holly, 12, and Florence, four. Pictures: supplied by Michael Jenkins

“Luckily, the owners of Church House, Guestwick were offering their beautiful barn conversion for any NHS staff unable to return home.

“This was one of the examples of people’s generosity during the pandemic and one that won’t be forgotten.

“CRHT (Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment team) management and my colleagues supported me throughout my time away and are making it possible for me to work remotely from home for a period, so I can spend time with my wife and children.”

MORE: Town’s shops get set to reopen as lockdown restrictions ease

He said it had been hard, missing out on time with his family and the memories they’ve shared during lockdown, and added: “I’ve really noticed how much they have changed.

Michael Jenkins is met on  his return home by daughter Florence, four.  Pictures: supplied by Michael Jenkins.Michael Jenkins is met on his return home by daughter Florence, four. Pictures: supplied by Michael Jenkins.

“It’s been easy to communicate with my daughters via video calls and texts, as well as visiting them and speaking through the closed patio doors, so I am extremely grateful for that, but it’s lovely to be back home helping with the remote learning of my eldest and spending time with my youngest, who has just started to learn to ride her bike during lockdown.”


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