Tributes paid to former firefighter who died of Covid-19

Derek Wilkie had been in intensive care at Raigmore Hospital for two weeks before he died on Sunday.

Tributes paid to former firefighter who died of Covid-19 Highland News & Media/STV
Tributes: Derek Wilkie.

Tributes have been paid to a former Highland fire chief who died after contracting Covid-19.

Derek Wilkie, 57, was a station commander for Inverness and Nairn and had 27 years service as a firefighter.

He had been in intensive care at Raigmore Hospital for two weeks before he died on Sunday.

Mr Wilkie retired just over two years ago following a long and distinguished career within the fire service.

SFRS Deputy assistant chief officer John MacDonald said “Derek will be sorely missed by all his friends and colleagues, past and present, within the Fire and Rescue Service. 

‘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.’

Deputy assistant chief officer John MacDonald

“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.

“Derek 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. 

“He was always willing to do whatever was required to deliver a positive outcome”.

A keen golfer who won many SFRS amateur competitions, Mr Wilkie was an outdoor enthusiast with a number of interests including cycling, skiing and hill walking.

Colleagues say he was devoted to his wife Janice, a specialist cancer care nurse for the NHS and their two boys, Owen, a paramedic for the Scottish Ambulance Service, and Blair, a medical lab assistant with NHS Highland at Raigmore Hospital.

In a statement the family said they want to ‘thank all NHS staff for the exemplary care Derek received and want to help raise awareness of the dangers and reality of Coronavirus. 

They said they wanted to “reinforce the message of ‘stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives’.”

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