The husband of a first responder volunteer in Lincolnshire who died of COVID-19 has described her as his “soulmate” in a heartfelt tribute.
Jannine Tempest, a volunteer for Lincolnshire-based first responder charity LIVES, passed away at the age of 40 on Monday after contracting COVID-19.
She was born in Sheffield and joined the RAF in April 1997, where she met the love of her life Phil, now 49, at RAF Benson.
The pair instantly fell in love, with both immediately realising they had found their soulmate, and were engaged just months after meeting for the first time.
They got married in August 1999, going on to have two sons, first George in May 2001 and then Joseph in January 2003.
George was born with multiple conditions, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy and autism, causing Janine to leave her job in order to care for her son.
Phil continued to work for the RAF, and after being posted to Fylingdales in 2005, followed by Wittering in 2009, the family finally settled in North Hykeham in 2014, after a move to RAF Waddington.
It was here in 2015 where Jannine dedicated her life to volunteering for LIVES, something which Phil told The Lincolnite was incredibly rewarding for his wife.
Phil said: “She began volunteering with LIVES in 2015, and she absolutely loved doing this.
“She met many good friends, and took great joy in being able to help others, and use her own experiences to help and guide others.
“She would often return home following a day volunteering, and talk excitedly of her day, and how she really felt good, being able to make a difference.”
The family’s life was never plain sailing, as they fought year upon year to get the appropriate care and support for their disabled son George.
It prompted Jannine to not just become involved with LIVES, where she operated as the coordinator for Hykeham area right up until her death, but also to work for CAMHS, an NHS service dedicated to the mental health support of young people.
They did get to share magical moments along the way, however, taking a memorable family trip to Disneyland Paris in 2017 thanks to the RAF Disabled Holiday Trust.
The family, along with Kat Mayer, the ward sister, then had ‘George’s Garden’ built next to Navenby ward at Lincoln County Hospital, an outdoor space for the benefit of parents, patients and staff.
Things were going great for the family, but the whole household contracted coronavirus in January 2021, which saw George admitted to hospital again.
Jannine stayed by her son’s side at all times in hospital, caring for him despite also having the virus herself.
George recovered, but Jannine’s situation worsened, and she herself was admitted to hospital on January 19, where she stayed until her tragic death on February 8.
Phil said of his wife’s passing: “She fought so hard to try and beat this awful virus before sadly passing away, leaving behind a devastated and heartbroken husband, sons, mother, family and friends.
“Jannine excelled in everything she did, as she was so humble, and I often wished that she could see herself through my eyes and the eyes of others, as she truly was the most loving, caring, selfless and amazing woman imaginable.
“She loved her family with all of her heart, and was loved with all of our hearts in return. Her loss is unbearable, it has devastated our family, and has left such a huge hole in our hearts.”
Phil also wanted to thank everyone who has reached out in support since the news of Jannine’s passing broke.
He continued: “As a family, we have been unbelievably humbled (but not surprised) by all the amazing messages of love for Jannine that we have received and would like to thank you all for your kind messages.”