FAMILIES who lost loved ones to Covid-19 have donated portable devices to keep people connected while in hospital.
Five sisters donated a Samsung tablet to Rotherham Hospital after their father died, while two siblings raised over £1,700 for five iPads in memory of their uncle.
Eddie Leigh, of Aston, died on April 17 aged 86 on Covid ward A2.
His grieving family have donated a tablet with a heartfelt inscription: "Donated by the daughters of Eddie Leigh to the staff who helped and loved our dad at a time we couldn't be with him. We hope this helps people to see and talk to their loved ones, even when miles apart."
Olivia Torr, one of Eddie's daughters, said: "My sisters and I are from different parts of the country, so visiting dad during lockdown was difficult. But we kept in touch with him thanks to the wonderful staff and an iPad I brought from home.
"The tablet was the closest thing we got to being with him and gave us the chance to say: 'I love you'. Without that, we'd have been even more devastated."
Olivia described her dad as the "kindest, loveliest, gentleman", and said she was proud to have an iPad in his name helping other families to stay in touch.
Twelve-year-old Reuben Gillam and sister Esme (9) raised £1,734 in memory of their uncle Jeff.
Jeff had been living at the Laureate Court Care Home in Wellgate but died in hospital on April 14, aged 73, after testing positive for Covid-19.
The kids' mum, Nicola Gillam, of Hertfordshire, said: "We didn't get a chance to say goodbye to Jeff, but we hope other people can speak to their loved ones on these iPads."
The Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity has also brought 14 electronic tablets thanks to a £3,500 donation from NHS Charities Together.
The equipment will be used across all wards including critical care, maternity services and the Purple Butterfly rooms.
During lockdown, Hannah Hall, engagement and inclusion lead at the trust, redeployed staff who had volunteered to keep patients in touch with their families.
She said: "People can be rushed to hospital with little warning, so video calls have been a lifeline for them and family who would usually visit.
"Staying in hospital can be a difficult, emotional time with the current situation, but seeing a familiar face, even via a video call, can make patients feel less vulnerable and isolated."
The volunteers have now returned and the trust is looking for new helpers. For more details, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.