Police hero and Stars of Suffolk winner dies at Ipswich Hospital after contracting coronavirus
PUBLISHED: 16:08 29 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:08 29 March 2020
Tributes have been paid to former police hero and Stars of Suffolk winner John Hood, who has died in Ipswich Hospital after contracting coronavirus.
John, from Felixstowe, was described as a “kind, generous and courageous man” by his partner, Nita Crossley, who he lived with.
The 66-year-old developed symptoms of Covid-19 more than a week before his admission to Ipswich Hospital on March 20.
He immediately went into self-isolation and fought the illness until his condition worsened and he sought medical help. He died on Tuesday, March 24. He had underlying health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes.
Nita, who is in self-isolation, said John’s death had come as an enormous shock.
“John was a kind, generous and courageous man,” she said. “He lived life to the full and he will be hugely missed.”
Originally from, Dunedin, New Zealand, John came to the UK in 2004 with his then partner, Jayne Lindill, who was returning to her native Suffolk.
John had worked as a radio presenter in New Zealand and Australia, but when he came to Suffolk he seized the opportunity to take on a new career as a PCSO with Suffolk Constabulary, serving between 2007 and 2018. Friends say it was a job he loved – and it was a role which earned him recognition.
In 2016, John won a Stars of Suffolk award for diving into the sea off Felixstowe beach to rescue four girls. Despite having a pacemaker to correct a slow heartbeat, he swam 250m to the aid of the girls who were in danger of drifting out to sea in a rubber dinghy.
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He told this newspaper at the time: “I could have stayed on the beach and called the Coastguard, but I know I am a strong swimmer, I know the water, and I made a decision to go in.”
John was involved in local amateur theatre as a talented director and actor, in productions in the New Wolsey Theatre Open Season and at the Sir John Mills Theatre in Ipswich. He also loved the outdoors and in his earlier life in Australia had been a keen triathlete.
Jayne, editor of Suffolk Magazine, said that although she and John were no longer partners they had been the closest of friends for 23 years.
“John had a big heart and made an impression on everyone he met. His great passions were rugby, his native New Zealand, music and theatre. He also loved Suffolk as his adopted home and was looking forward to enjoying more of it with Nita.”
She added they were thankful to all the NHS staff for the help they gave John – and urged people to listen to Government advice to stop the spread of the virus.
“We’re very grateful to the paramedics and the staff at Ipswich Hospital for the care they gave John while he was battling this terrible virus,” said Jayne. “They’re doing an incredibly difficult job and no praise is too great for them. Our hearts go out to other people who have lost loved ones and we urge people to do everything they can to stay safe.”
John’s death is the first reported at Ipswich Hospital.
There have been two others confirmed in Suffolk so far.
Pat Bewley, from Stowupland, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday, died at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds last week. Moving tributes have been paid by his family.
And “lovely, vibrant” grandmother Jane Jay, 75, from Ixworth, also died at the same hospital.
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