Highlands & Islands

Coronavirus: Former firefighter dies after contracting Covid-19

Derek Image copyright Wilikie family
Image caption Derek Wilkie was a firefighter for 27 years

Tributes have been paid to a former firefighter who has lost his life to coronavirus.

Derek Wilkie had been receiving care an intensive care unit at Raigmore Hospital when he died on Sunday.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said he was a "larger than life personality".

Mr Wilkie's wife, Janice, is a cancer nurse and his sons work in the health service, one as a paramedic and the other at a medical lab at Raigmore.

Image copyright Wilkie family
Image caption Mr Wilkie and his wife, Janice.
Image copyright Wilkie family
Image caption The former firefighter's sons both work in the health service.

The family has thanked hospital staff for caring for of Mr Wilkie and urged people to "stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives".

Mr Wilkie's 27-year career as a firefighter included senior roles in Badenoch and Strathspey and Shetland.

He was station commander for Inverness and Nairn District before he retired in December 2017.

Former colleagues said the keen golfer, cyclist, skier and hillwalker was devoted to his family.

'Larger than life'

Deputy Assistant Chief Officer John MacDonald said Mr Wilkie had been a "diligent and capable" firefighter.

He said: "Derek was an individual who approached his work in a professional manner, with a warm, engaging and larger than life personality and always with a smile.

"Nothing was ever a problem and he was dedicated to helping others, both the public he served and his colleagues, and was always willing to do whatever was required to deliver a positive outcome."

Mr MacDonald added: "Both the service and the world are better places as a result of Derek's contributions, in a life that was tragically cut short when he still had so much to offer."