Tributes to Norfolk paramedic who passed away after contracting Covid
- Credit: Ian Burt
Family and friends of a paramedic who died after contracting coronavirus have paid tribute to a larger than life character who loved to see people smile.
Barry Jarvis, from Grimston, near King's Lynn, passed away on December 18 at the age of 59. He had worked for the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) since 1999, with 20 years as a paramedic, along with stints as a union rep and HR advisor. He had previously worked for the London Ambulance Service, during a career spanning 35 years.
A vintage ambulance, paramedics and members of the emergency services formed a procession to his funeral, which was held at Mintlyn Crematorium, near Lynn, on January 7.
"He was fun, he was really caring, being a paramedic, you've got to be," said his step-daughter Charlotte, 23. "Outside work he was always doing something for the village.
"I remember Hallowe'en parties, dressing up. He always wanted to do things for people, he was such a big part of the village."
Mr Jarvis, who was self isolating before he became ill, would post funny pictures and messages on social media to cheer up his friends and colleagues through the pandemic.
His wife Sarah said: "He used to do daily funnies on Facebook to try to give everyone a smile, to keep people going.
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"He was very, very careful he did shield himself. If we did go out for a walk, we'd go in the evening and walk across the fields so we didn't meet anyone."
Mrs Jarvis, 54, said her husband had discovered a love of bird watching after joining the RSPB two years ago.
"He was getting older and thinking about what he was going to do when he retired," she said. "He loved going to the coast.
"During lockdown, he would look out of the window. He had seven bird feeders on one stand and a tree-full, 14 in one tree plus a couple out the back."
She said that the feeders were regularly topped up with scraps including left-overs from her husband's favourite fish and chips, adding: "We used to joke about all our birds being obese."
Mr Jarvis was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on King's Lynn on December 3, to be treated for an underlying health issue. He initially tested negative for Covid-19, but tested positive on December 13 and passed away five days later.
Colleague Karen Carter posted in an online tribute: "As many of you will know Barry had a great love for Queen, one of their songs was The Miracle – in the short time Barry was in hospital we were all hoping and praying that there would be a miracle.
"Despite our hopes and prayers and the fight that Barry put in to remaining with us on this earth, sadly it wasn’t to be.
"Let us all keep the legendary Barry very much alive by being kind to everyone, if we achieve half that Barry did in spreading love, kindness and smiles the world will be a better place."
Mr Jarvis's funeral procession was led by a rapid response vehicle and cycling paramedics. It included a vintage ambulance decked in Norwich City and King's Lynn Town FC scarves - he was an armchair fan of the Canaries and a regular at The Walks.
An air ambulance flew overhead as Mr Jarvis was met by a guard of honour from the ambulance service.
"It's really hard to explain what the send-off meant to us, it just blew us away," said his brother Paul, 64. "He was very generous with his time, he just loved helping people, so being a paramedic was the ideal profession for him.
"He took pleasure in life, he took pleasure from the simple things. He enjoyed the sunrise, he loved the beach.
"He totally embraced village life, he was in the Fourville Players."
Mr Jarvis, who passed away on December 18, leaves a wife Sarah, 54, son AJ and step-children James, 36 and Charlotte, 23. His family said they wished to thank everyone involved in organising the tribute.