Tributes to ‘caring and irreplaceable’ Barkingside nurse Big John

PUBLISHED: 16:40 06 April 2016 | UPDATED: 09:07 07 April 2016

John O'Neill

John O'Neill "Big John"


An “irreplaceable” nurse who spent 36 years helping patients has died following a short illness.

John O’Neill, 60, from Barkingside, worked at Whipps Cross Hospital, Leytonstone, and was known to those close to him as Big John.

His friend and colleague Brian Coleman paid tribute to the “caring and irreplaceable” man.

“He was a very reliable friend and he is missed by so many people, especially his wife Teresa and his two step children,” said Brian.

“He made time for everybody, that was his gift and he did it without having to try.”

Brian and John met in the 1970s while training at the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel Road, Whitechapel, and after a period of temping, John secured a permanent job in the urology unit at Whipps Cross.

Later in his career he specialised in treating people with bladder and prostate cancer.

“He was very industrious, very kind to patients and they always came first to him,” said Brian.

“We were playing football the night before [he collapsed], it’s unbelievable that he has gone.”

John also played against patients as part of a football club set up by Brian.

“He was caring, confident and special and he will be missed by so many,” he said.

“He is the greatest friend to me, he is irreplaceable.”

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