City Alumni Network

Category Archives: COVID-19 Heroes & In Memory of Covid-19 Victims

City Alumni Hero: Leigh Andrews – Uses speech and language therapy to help, motivate and uplift the vulnerable around her

COVID-19 Heroes & In Memory of Covid-19 Victims.

Leigh AndrewsSchool of Health Sciences alumna Leigh Andrews (Speech and Language Therapy, 2019) works with people who are living on the streets or hostels and have hit hard times in their lives. As the pandemic started those were living on the streets were the most exposed and vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic. “Some local councils have sourced hotel accommodation for people who are homeless so that they can safely isolate at this time. Many people welcomed the opportunity to be sheltered in a hotel, but it is not an easy time. All homelessness organisations have had to rethink how they work and there has been interruptions or closure of some services that are essential to people previously living on the street.” As the pandemic has caused disruptions in all sectors homeless organisations have opted to send the food packages, they would normally prepare, straight to the hotels.

Change Communication

Leigh got involved with the efforts of supporting the vulnerable through her company, “Westminster City Council recognised that some people hosted in hotels may have communication needs. They asked Change Communication to help guests understand the purpose of the hotel stay, the steps they could take to keep safe, and identify positive ways of spending the time while isolating.” She spent time getting to know people in the hotels, working with staff to support communication about important matters such as GP calls, and creating things like quizzes and puzzles that didn’t rely on literacy skills. “A City, University of London, student who had volunteered for our organisation joined us in paid capacity to support our work which was a great experience for us both!”

Having spent a great deal of time working in the hotels accommodating vulnerable people, Leigh found that their support helped some people to access and accept support from other health and care services while in the hotel. She was also able to talk about what speech and language therapy is with staff and raise awareness of how they could all help people with communicating needs.

As there is a growing need for effective communication support from homelessness and health organisations during the pandemic, Leigh has a lot of interest in the work she does which, together with getting to grips with Microsoft Teams and Zoom, has kept her busy helping the most vulnerable during the global pandemic.


On behalf of all of us in the City Community – thank you Leigh for all your work in alleviating the terrible effects caused by the pandemic isolation.



Living through giving: Supporting the community and spreading the love

COVID-19 Heroes & In Memory of Covid-19 Victims.

While the Indian government under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Modi has taken a “prevention is better than cure” approach in India to flatten the curve of Coronavirus, Priyanka Amit Shah (Marketing Strategy and Innovation, 2018) told us about the devastating impact the current crisis is having on daily-wage earners and her efforts to support them.

Priyanka said: “Most of the citizens that are employed in the informal sector such as the daily-wage earners do not enjoy the benefits of sick/paid leave and lack any kind of insurance. They also, unfortunately, do not have access to services like a pension, with very few possessing bank accounts. They earn in cash and are the sole breadwinners of their families, feeding four to five children on an average. Not to forget, the migrant workers and the floating population who are also suffering tremendously. They are stranded and have nothing to fall back upon. They fear that hunger will kill them before coronavirus does.”

Feeling grateful for having access to food, shelter, family and friends, Priyanka explains that she can’t rest until she gives back to her community: “My family and I are active members of the Rotary Club of Mumbai Queens Necklace and we have been contributing to sponsor daily meals for the families of A K Munshi School of Special Children in Mumbai. The Club has also been working in partnership with Annamrita Cares – an initiative against COVID-19 to help serve 6,647,073 meals across India. To date, the Club has helped sponsor 130,000 meals per day during the lockdown. We have also been providing protective gear and testing kits to the JJ Hospital in Mumbai.

With many of the population in India in the senior citizen’s category, Priyanka and her family have been volunteering to help elderly people with purchasing groceries and medicines or even running unavoidable errands to minimise their exposure to contamination and any risk on their lives. Some of their life-saving work has been highlighted in the Hindustan Times – India’s leading daily newspaper.

Being a Director at Letters of Love, a youth-led international non-profit organisation based in the United States of America, Priyanka has been working on launching a new campaign called #DearHeroes.

Priyanka explains: “The #DearHeroes global letter-writing campaign is our effort at extending a hand in gratitude to the thousands of medical staff who are at the frontline, risking their lives and waging this battle at the forefront. A letter of love is to let them know that we see them as human beings, we admire their resilience and that we are endlessly grateful. A letter is a humble attempt at spreading smiles to those who deserve it the most. It is a token of hope, personalised with a warm message which is written by hand by our team of volunteers in the native language of the receiver, doodled with colours and signed off in your name.

“After sending more than 50,000 letters to refugee children around the world, today, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are refocusing our attention to write letters to the Heroes of the Hour – Doctors and Nurses. To thank our heroes, one letter at a time!”

Priyanka concludes with this very inspirational statement: “Every day, I wake up with a thought that today is not just another day. Today, I’ll create something beautiful. Today, I’ll make a difference. Today, I’ll give back. I’ve always been a believer that we are not meant to bear what we find unpleasant, we are meant to change it.”

Delivering personal protective equipment to those on the frontline

COVID-19 Heroes & In Memory of Covid-19 Victims.

When the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically spread across the UK in just a matter of weeks, Chair of Harrow Carers Manoj Varsani (Modular Executive MBA, 2017 and Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence, 2007) experienced firsthand the huge and critical impact of the personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage. As the founder of a fintech company called Hammock, Manoj enlisted the support of his co-founder Marco Ferrari (Modular Executive MBA, 2017), and the rest of their team to ensure NHS organisations and charities receive the PPE supplies they urgently require at a fair price. As such SOS Supplies was born in just 24 hours!

Since Hammock set up this new initiative, SOS Supplies, the team has recruited over 20 volunteers, which has enabled them to work with more than 150 organisations and deliver over 400,000 pieces of PPE to various charities and organisations. To support this work, SOS Supplies has completed its first fundraiser of £5,000 and is in the process of running a second one in partnership with Harrow Carers to raise £15,000. All the money raised is being spent on PPE for organisations working with SOS Supplies, so if you would like to and are able to, please do donate.

Marco (left) said: “SOS Supplies complements our professional efforts by helping us feel that we can do something to help with the COVID-19 pandemic and that we don’t have to just accept the current reality as is.

“The stories we hear from the organisation we’re helping – from large established charities like Marie Curie to small local groups – always bring an injection of positive energy and hope in our day-to-day.”

Manoj concluded: “We’re very lucky that Hammock is a digital business and provides services that can be offered despite the COVID-19 outbreak. Our company is still very young, so there is always a lot to do, but we’re finding that this helps us keep our minds focused and reduces the risk of falling victim to anxiety during this complex time.”

A huge thank you to Manoj and Marco for sharing their story and for all the incredible work they are doing to ensure frontline staff have the PPE they truly need! Follow the team on Twitter to find out more.

In Memory of COVID-19 victims of City, University of London

COVID-19 Heroes & In Memory of Covid-19 Victims.

This page has been created to remember and recognise those members of the City, University of London community who have lost their lives to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are sorely missed and our thoughts and condolences are with their families at this difficult time.

If you would like to share any further names and stories with us or feel that there are people we have missed, please contact us on


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Dr Stan Mutsatsa (Senior Lecturer at City, University of London)

Passed away on 20th January 2021

Dr Stan Mutsatsa passed away in Harare, Zimbabwe, where he was visiting family. Dr Mutsatsa joined the Mental Health Nursing team at City, University of London in 2015, and was a Senior Lecturer in the School of Health Sciences when he fell ill with COVID-19. Professor Debra Salmon, Dean of the School of Health Sciences, describes Dr Mutsatsa as … a much-valued colleague, supporting, caring and advocating for students and staff as both a nurse educator and Trade Union representative. Stan had a real ability to encourage students to think critically about their studies.”

Dr Stan Mutsatsa leaves behind his wife and three children, and our thoughts are with the family. Anyone who would like to pay tribute to Dr Mutsatsa is welcome to visit his memorial page.

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Onyenachi ObasiOnyenachi Obasi (Public Health, 2014)

Passed away on 6th May 2020

Onyenachi Obasi worked as a Health Visitor and Nurse in Newham, East London. She died on 6 May 2020 at Queen’s Hospital, Romford. Her family shared that Onyenachi “felt she had a duty to work and help during the pandemic” and that “she gave her life doing a job she loved.” In her tribute to Onyenachi, Professor Debra Salmon, Dean of the School of Health Sciences said, “Onyenachi used her expertise, knowledge and skill as a Health Visitor to provide professional public health services to individuals, families and communities to enhance health and reduce health inequalities. She is remembered as a wonderful and reliable member of the team, with a friendly and welcoming personality. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with her family, friends and colleagues.”

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Michael AllieuMichael Allieu (Nursing, 2012)

Passed away on 18th April 2020

Michael Allieu died at Homerton University Hospital in Hackney, London, where he had worked as a staff nurse since 2007. Professor Debra Salmon, Dean of the School of Health Sciences, said: “As a former City nursing student, and in more recent years clinical colleague, we remember Michael as an incredibly kind, compassionate and dedicated individual with a passion for patient care. Michael was always extremely welcoming and supportive of our students on placement at Homerton Hospital, and of our nursing lecturers during their visits. He leaves an impression on many School of Health Sciences staff and students and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and condolences are with Michael’s family and friends at this sad and difficult time.”

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Mary Oniah

Mary Oniah (Nursing Studies (Palliative & End-of-Life Care, 2011)

Passed away on 4th May 2020

Mary Oniah passed away on 4 May 2020 at King George Hospital in Ilford, East London. She was a Regional Director for a care home provider. Mary Oniah was a trained nurse as well as a midwife at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka in Zambia. Professor Debra Salmon, Dean of the School of Health Sciences said: “Mary was a passionate, hardworking and caring student. Mary’s skills, deep empathy and dedication enabled her to support and improve the quality of life for those she cared for and their families, at the time they needed it most. It is a privilege to have been part of Mary’s professional journey and our heartfelt sympathies go out to her family, friends and colleagues at this sad and difficult time.” Sadly, Mary Oniah’s husband has also passed after contracting Covid-19. The couple leaves behind three children.

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Jennie Sablayan

Jennie Sablayan (Nursing and Midwifery, 2007)

Passed away on 5th May 2020

Jennie Sablayan died at West Middlesex Hospital on 5 May 2020. Jennie had been a haematology nurse at University College Hospital (UCLH) for nearly 20 years. UCLH Chief Executive Marcel Levi said: “Jennie was a much-loved specialist haematology nurse. An expert in her field, Jennie looked after patients with leukaemia, lymphoma and other blood cancers with much kindness and great dedication. UCLH staff and patients will remember Jennie for her hard-working and unassuming approach during her 18 years of invaluable service. We will miss her terribly, her humour, her compassion, her friendship and her humbleness in supporting her team and her patients.” She leaves behind her husband and two daughters, aged 10 and 14. Our thoughts are with Jennie’s family and friends at this difficult time.

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Margaret Njenga Margaret Njenga (Nursing, 2006 and Midwifery CPD, 2017/18)

Passed away in May 2020

Margaret was a well-respected, admired and cherished midwife. Heartfelt tributes from Margaret’s friends and colleagues honoured her as a hardworking, motivated and cheerful person. Professor Debra Salmon, Dean of the School of Health Sciences, remembers Margaret as an “excellent and dedicated Midwifery Manager at The Royal London Hospital. She successfully completed Newborn Infant Physical Examination Modules with us at City, University of London in 2017/18 and is remembered as a motivated, dynamic, forward-thinking, and hardworking student. Margaret was valued and much loved by all those who had the privilege of knowing her, and her kindness and positivity will be remembered by colleagues in the School of Health Sciences.” Our condolences and thoughts are with Margaret’s family, friends and clinical colleagues at this incredibly difficult time.

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Adekunle Editan

Adekunle Enitan (Health Informatics, 2006)

Passed away on 24th April 2020

Adekunle Enitan was an intensive care nurse who was highly regarded by his colleagues and peers. Aged 55, a husband and a father of two, he passed away after contracting Covid-19 whilst helping and caring for others at the frontline of the fight against this pandemic. Dr Peter Weller, former Head of Centre for Health Informatics at City, University of London remembers Ade as a “hard-working and attentive student with a dry sense of humour. He achieved his MSc the hard way – studying while still working shifts at a hospital. It’s with great sadness that I learned of Ade’s passing and his wife and children are in my thoughts at this difficult time.” On behalf of the University, we extend our deepest condolences to Adekunle’s family, his friends and colleagues.

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Dr Mamoona RanaDr Mamoona Rana (Health Informatics, 2002)

Passed away on 16th April 2020

Dr Mamoona Rana passed away aged 48. Dr Rana worked in the North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) and had dedicated her life to caring for her patients. Prof Oliver Shanley OBE, Chief Executive at NELFT remembers her as “a very highly regarded, enormously-valued, professional and committed doctor who will be hugely missed by her colleagues.” Mamoona’s husband, Dr Azeem Qureshi, shared that “She always used to tell me about City University. Many times, she told me that she wanted to go to City University to visit her faculty in Health Informatics but her dream can no longer be materialised.” Dr Peter Weller, former Head of Centre for Health Informatics at City and Dr Rana’s former teacher said, “I recall Mamoona’s big smile as she sat at the front of the classroom during lectures. She was a hard-working, popular student and dedicated to being a doctor in order to care for people. She was taken from us far too soon. Our thoughts are with Mamoona’s family at this tragic time.”

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Fuad NahdiFuad Nahdi (International Journalism, 1984)

Passed away on 21st March 2020

Fuad Nahdi was a prominent British Muslim journalist and a key voice in Britain’s Muslim community. In its tribute to Fuad Nahdi, The Guardian shared, “His rare cultural, religious and political agility, combined with an irreverent sense of humour, meant his voice was heard from Downing Street to Dakar, from Manchester to Mecca.” The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Jordan named Fuad Nahdi “one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims” and The Muslim Council of Britain remembers him as “one of the early pioneers of the British Muslim media, having founded first Muslimwise magazine and then Q-News. Fuad Nahdi inspired young British Muslims to reclaim their narrative and what it means to be both British and Muslim.” Our thoughts and sympathies are with his wife, Humera, and his two children.

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Robert WykesRobert Wykes (Civil Engineering, 1952)

Passed away on 16th April 2020

Robert Wykes passed away in hospital in Haywards Heath, West Sussex. He was 87 years of age. Robert was an accomplished Civil Engineer. In 1995 New Civil Engineer wrote an article about him, describing him as the “Red Adair of Civil Engineering”. Robert married in 1968 and is survived by his wife Christina, five children and eleven grandchildren. Remembering his Dad, Robert’s son Joe Wykes said, “He was a keen rugby fan and after he finished his career as a Civil Engineer he worked with a number of charities focusing on providing shelter and food to the homeless.” Our thoughts and condolences are with Robert’s family and friends.

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Professor Peter Sinclair

Professor Peter Sinclair (Donor)

Passed away on 31st March 2020

Peter Sinclair was Professor of Economics at the University of Birmingham and previously taught Economics at Oxford for 24 years. He was married to the late economist Shelagh Heffernan, a former Professor of Banking and Finance at Cass Business School. He helped set up and support the Shelagh Heffernan Scholarship Programme launched in her memory. A student of Professor Sinclair at Oxford, Graham Dransfield, City’s Business Development Manager said, “Professor Sinclair was renowned for his amazing memory. He was a kind, gentle and brilliant man and will be greatly missed.” Interim Dean of Cass, Professor Paolo Volpin remarked: “Peter was an inspirational educator and, as a thinker, his intelligence burned brightly. His support for the Business School was invaluable. On behalf of all at Cass and the wider University, I would like to offer my condolences to his wife Jayne and his family.

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.

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