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Coronavirus: Redbridge councillor recounts ‘worst six weeks’ of her life losing dad to virus

PUBLISHED: 17:00 03 June 2020

Nassar Hussain, father of Cllr Farah Hussain, died of Covid-19 on May 27 in Queen's Hospital. Picture: Farah Hussain

Nassar Hussain, father of Cllr Farah Hussain, died of Covid-19 on May 27 in Queen's Hospital. Picture: Farah Hussain

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A Redbridge councillor recounts the worst six weeks of her family’s life when she lost her dad to Covid-19.

Nassar was Nassar was "ambitious but not pushy" for his children Farah and Adam. Picture: Farah Hussain

Cllr Farah Hussain’s father Nassar Hussain was just 58 when he died last week. He first developed symptoms on April 1.

Nassar was the first person in his family to go to university where he became a radiographer and moved up to manage the department at a private hospital in Kent.

After the lockdown Nassar continued going into the hospital even though he could have worked from home, telling his family: “If my staff has to go in then I will too. A good manager doesn’t stay home while his team is out working.”

Mum Attia with Adam and Nassar. Picture: Farah HussainMum Attia with Adam and Nassar. Picture: Farah Hussain

Farah said she has no idea where he contracted the virus.

Two weeks after he first developed symptoms Nassar was taken to King George Hospital, Goodmayes, and that night he was put on a ventilator. That was the last time she spoke to him.

Farah said: “The six weeks he was in hospital was the most difficult time of our lives.

Nassar was a die-hard supporter of West Ham and made sure to take his kids for kebab roles from Green Street afterwards. Picture; Farah HussainNassar was a die-hard supporter of West Ham and made sure to take his kids for kebab roles from Green Street afterwards. Picture; Farah Hussain

“My brother, mum and I would wait all day for the call from the consultant to tell us how he was doing because we couldn’t see him or talk to him.”

When he called to say he was going on a ventilator his doctor had to hold up the phone to his ear and Farah told him she loved him and was looking forward to when he could come home.

She said: “Because we couldn’t be there, we are so grateful that he was surrounded by caring and kind people who did everything they could for him.

“We could never repay them for what they did, they were absolute angels.”

Nassar and his wife Attia were married for 33 years.

“He was really caring, loving and hands-on,” Farah said. “He shared the chores with my mum 50/50.

“Taught us to ride our bikes, tucked us into bed, read us stories, took us to the theatre, took care of us when we were ill.

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“He would’ve made a great granddad, and it’s a real shame he won’t get that opportunity.”

He joked that Farah was going to be Labour’s Priti Patel and when she stood for election in Valentine’s ward he went door-knocking to tell people to vote for his daughter.

Nassar was born in Canning Town in 1961 soon after his parents moved to England from Pakistan.

He was the second of five children, and the entire extended family of 60 plus people live in east London.

Farah’s mother Attia is from Ilford, and the couple raised their family in Goodmayes.

After her father died Farah was flooded with cards and letters from friends and colleagues saying how much Nassar did to help them.

She said: “It’s been really amazing to read all those messages because my dad would have just thought those things he did were just normal and not special at all.

“But of course those little things he did were really important and had a great impact.”

Nassar was always grateful that he was born in England and was devastated to see the extreme poverty in Pakistan when he visited.

A charity which meant a lot to him was the Edhi Foundation, which serves to fill the gap of a welfare safety net for people who most need it.

He was planning to volunteer for the organisation full-time after he retired and when she said goodbye to him Farah promised him they would raise money for it.

The family set up a GoFundMe page in his memory and in just four days they have raised more than £3,000.

Farah said she doesn’t want to remember her dad as a victim of Covid or the memory of him being ill.

“What I will remember is how happy he was on my wedding day.

“You could see that all over his face, he was smiling all the time and that’s what I’ll remember.”

To contribute to the fundraiser for the Edhi Foundation visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-nassar-hussain039s-memory


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