THE grieving family of a much-loved ‘one in a million’ mum who has died suddenly have paid a poignant tribute to her.
Fiona Dollard passed away in hospital on Wednesday at the age of just 52 after taking ill unexpectedly.
The Gourock mum was a popular nurse who was well known in the area and had many friends.
Fiona dedicated her life to her family and caring for others and her loved ones are distraught at the loss of someone so special.
Her husband Joe, 56, said: “She was one in a million, she touched so many lives.
“She did everything with perfection.
“I think that’s what a lot of people saw in her.”
Fiona, who worked at Glenfield Care Home in the west end of Greenock, trained at Inverclyde Royal and then worked at the Western Infirmary in Glasgow before heading off to work in Australia.
When she returned home she worked as a matron in Inverkip Nursing Home, then Bagatelle Care Home and since 1995 as a sister at Glenfield.
Her husband Joe, a businessman who owns Luigi’s chip shop in Roxburgh Street with brother-in-law Bert Medinelli, said: “Fiona loved working with older people, they often said she brightened their day.
“Even socially she had a great way of bringing a smile to people’s faces.
“She knew so many people and she was so thoughtful, always asking people how they were keeping.”
Fiona and Joe were married at Wellpark West Church 21 years ago and had a winter wedding so they could pursue their passion for skiing during their honeymoon in Vancouver.
In recent years the pair enjoyed trips to destinations such as Bali, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Monaco, and also to Fiona’s favourite skiing resort in Zermatt in Switzerland.
Joe and the couple’s children David, 19, an engineering student, and Zoe, 17, a pupil at Clydeview Academy, are still trying to come to terms with their terrible loss at the family home in Cambridge Avenue.
Joe said: “At this age you think you have another 20 or 30 years together.”
The family are very close, so much so that Fiona’s twin sister Diane lives next door with her husband Bert and their daughter Daniella, 22.
Diane said: “We’ve spent all our lives together, we are a very close family.
“Fiona made a big difference to so many people’s lives.”
Daniella spoke of Fiona’s sense of fun, saying: “She was the kindest, most fun-loving person ever.
“She always had everyone laughing.
“She was my aunt but she was like a second mum to me, she was a family person and always put her family first.
“She was such a big part of everyone’s lives and meant so much to everybody.”
The family say staff at Inverclyde Royal Hospital did all they could and more to care for Fiona.
Diane said: “We want to thank all the staff, from A&E, to the ward and intensive care where my sister died, from the bottom of our hearts for their expertise, care and attention.
“They went beyond the call of duty, the care my sister received was second to none.
“I couldn’t have asked for better care.”
Daniella also paid tribute to her grandmother Wilma McKelvie, Fiona and Diane’s mum, for being a tower of strength at such a traumatic time.
She said: “Gran is at the centre of the family and helps to keep us all together.”
Residents and staff at Glenfield have been shocked by Fiona’s sudden passing, and a book of remembrance has been set up at the home.
Carol Chiverton, home manager, said: “I have known Fiona all the time she has been at Glenfield, she was a dear friend, a great colleague and a dedicated nurse.
“She loved her work with the elderly at Glenfield.
“We’re going to miss her very much.
“If any of the staff had any problems, she tried to help them.
“The staff are really devastated about it, it was so sudden and unexpected.
“We were all in tears when we heard Fiona had passed away.
“The residents all loved her and their families are all shocked. She will be sorely missed.”
Glenfield resident Phoebe Kerr, 92, had known Fiona since she was a child through family connections and she also nursed her late husband at Glenfield.
Phoebe told the Telegraph: “She was a very vibrant person, and the kind of person when you came into the room you knew she was there.
“She was extremely good with people and was able to talk to everyone and listen to people’s problems.
“I knew her very well and although she was my nurse she was also a friend.
"She was a very caring person and also great fun, a genuine person and very capable.
“She just loved Glenfield and was very loyal.
“I will miss her enormously.”
Joe would like to extend his thanks to all family and friends for their best wishes and support.
Fiona’s funeral and celebration of her life will take place in Greenock Crematorium on Wednesday at 3pm and thereafter at Greenock Town Hall.
All family and friends are respectfully invited.