Florist creates giant floral tribute to York Hospital’s NHS heroes after they saved her brother’s life

Saying it with flowers… Sheryl Popplewell

A York florist has created a special tribute to NHS heroes – after her brother became seriously ill with coronavirus and was rushed to hospital.

Sheryl Popplewell, who runs Fulford Flowers, explained how her 50-year-old brother Mark, who is usually fit and well, quickly became very poorly with the virus.

Mark was taken to York Hospital for treatment, where he thankfully recovered thanks to the “absolutely amazing” healthcare staff.

But Sheryl has revealed the toll the illness has taken on both his physical and mental health.

‘Like a movie’

Mark, Sheryl, and Sheryl’s husband Wayne

She said Mark, a gardener at Bishopthorpe Palace, was isolating at his home after he developed symptoms including a high temperature and a cough.

“I went to see him through the glass in his door and he couldn’t stop coughing and he looked grey,” Sheryl said. “He could not breathe properly.”

She called an ambulance for him when it got to the stage where he could not speak over the phone – and Sheryl said the paramedics arrived at Mark’s flat in about three minutes.

“They rushed him to a ward and put him on oxygen and an intravenous antibiotic drip, did several tests and, thank God, he responded really well to it. It all happened so quickly,” she said.

“He said it was like a movie – they sent him up in a lift on a trolley on his own and when he got to the right floor there was a covering over the doors and everyone is in masks.”

Unfortunately Mark developed pneumonia – but he was given antibiotics and healthcare staff were able to send him home, where he is currently recovering.

Sheryl said: “It has really knocked his confidence and seems to have really affected him.

“He is worried about going back outside due to his low resilience until he fully recovers – but in another way he feels like he has got a new outlook on life. He is positive about other things.”

York Hospital staff ‘amazing’

A rainbow bouquet. Photograph: Fulford Flowers on Facebook

She highlighted the impact on people’s health as they recover, adding: “This is the thing that’s not said – it can affect a patient’s mental health too.

“Mark helps me when we do big events and we are close; I was really upset that he was so ill.”

The family are full of praise for the staff at York Hospital – saying they are “absolutely amazing”.

And as a tribute – they have created special bouquets of flowers to thank frontline workers.

The hero bouquets are available in a combination of patriotic red, white and blue or blue and white combinations – in honour of the NHS.

Fulford Flowers also launched rainbow bouquets – which have proven popular with people celebrating birthdays or anniversaries in lockdown as well as people sending flowers to cheer themselves up.

Sheryl said: “Many people have told us they feel they can connect with others by sending flowers during this current time.

“We wanted to do something inspired by our own experience and how amazing the people in the NHS are. Some of them have given their own lives to help save others, especially vulnerable people, they are all quite amazing.”

Find out more on the Fulford Flowers Facebook page.