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Coronavirus: 'NHS heroes deserve medals', says ex-football manager Harry Fay who overcame Covid-19

Recovering football boss praises medical staff on latest night of applause

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Harry Fay with wife Geraldine and daughter Amy outside their home last night

Harry Fay with wife Geraldine and daughter Amy outside their home last night

Residents from Whiterock Gardens in west Belfast show their support for key workers

Residents from Whiterock Gardens in west Belfast show their support for key workers

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Residents from Whiterock Gardens in west Belfast show their support for key workers

Residents from Whiterock Gardens in west Belfast show their support for key workers

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Residents from Whiterock Gardens in west Belfast show their support for key workers

Residents from Whiterock Gardens in west Belfast show their support for key workers

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Stormont is lit up blue

Stormont is lit up blue

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Lee McClelland

Lee McClelland

Harry Fay with wife Geraldine and daughter Amy outside their home last night

A former football manager who overcame coronavirus has praised the NHS staff who cared for him and said he and his family were proudly "the first on the street" to applaud the healthcare workers.

Harry Fay (57) came out of his 15-day isolation on Thursday after spending three days in Craigavon Area Hospital last month.

The Portadown man, a former boss of Dungannon Swifts, said that he is getting stronger every day but stressed that there are others with coronavirus who are in a worse position than him.

On Thursday night, thousands of people across Northern Ireland took to their doorsteps to applaud the NHS as nurses and doctors battle to stop the spread of Covid-19 and care for those who have contracted the virus.

Mr Fay, his wife Geraldine and their daughter Amy, who were in self-isolation together, were no exception and the former Newry City player said the front line workers in the healthcare system are "putting their lives on the line" every single day.

"It is unbelievable what those people go through and they're still on the front line," he said.

Let's be honest, they're putting their life on the line every time they're treating a patient because we just don't know where this virus is going

"When I was in hospital the numbers were low, but obviously they have multiplied since then.

"I can only vouch for when I was there and they were just so kind and nothing was a problem.

"Let's be honest, they're putting their life on the line every time they're treating a patient because we just don't know where this virus is going.

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Residents from Whiterock Gardens in west Belfast show their support for key workers

Residents from Whiterock Gardens in west Belfast show their support for key workers

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Residents from Whiterock Gardens in west Belfast show their support for key workers

"We're saying we need to do this and that, but the bottom line is there is a lot of nurses on the front line that haven't even been tested yet.

"The problem is they could be carriers and they could be infecting other people even though they're going about their due diligence and doing their day's work.

"Those people are going home to their families and they are putting their families at risk as well."

Mr Fay, who also coached at Cliftonville and Warrenpoint Town, began to feel unwell on March 18 with flu-like symptoms and chest pains.

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Residents from Whiterock Gardens in west Belfast show their support for key workers

Residents from Whiterock Gardens in west Belfast show their support for key workers

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Residents from Whiterock Gardens in west Belfast show their support for key workers

His condition deteriorated at home and he was immediately taken to Craigavon Area Hospital by ambulance.

After collapsing in the ward Mr Fay was swabbed for Covid-19 and tested positive.

Praising the staff at the hospital, Mr Fay added that they "deserve a medal" for the work they do.

"They take an awful risk and God knows who they're meeting when they're out and about," he added as he called for more testing.

"They have to call in and get a few things in the shops and things like that, and because there hasn't been enough testing I could walk down the street today on my first day out and meet somebody who is carrying the virus.

"My wife Geraldine and my daughter Amy, who have been in isolation as well, and myself were the first out on the street to applaud those people because they deserve a medal.

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Residents from Whiterock Gardens in west Belfast show their support for key workers

Residents from Whiterock Gardens in west Belfast show their support for key workers

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Residents from Whiterock Gardens in west Belfast show their support for key workers

"This isn't going away and it's happening for those workers every day."

Meanwhile, a Belfast pastor has told how singing from his hospital bed helped him during his recovery from coronavirus.

Lee McClelland from the Ark Church on Cliftonpark Avenue was treated for Covid-19 in intensive care last month. As his condition improved he began sharing video updates from his hospital bed on fighting "the virus from hell".

Now reunited with his wife and children at home, he shared another video message on his experience.

"For anybody that knows me, I'm not a singer," he said. "It was one of those days and I was under unbelievable pressure.

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Stormont is lit up blue

Stormont is lit up blue

Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press E

Stormont is lit up blue

"I was so ill, I was so sick and frightened. Fighting for breath and my chest was in incredible pain."

Having being sent a video clip of a religious song, he began singing along from his bed.

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Lee McClelland

Lee McClelland

Lee McClelland

"I just began to belt that out and I never realised I was singing at the top of my voice," he said. "I sang my heart out in that hospital room, that wee isolation room became a place of worship."

He added: "Little did I know that my door was open... and one of the nurses came down and she shouted through the door 'we loved your singing'... and closed the door."

Belfast Telegraph