Trust remembers much loved nurse one year on from Coronavirus death

We hold anniversary minute's silence to honour his memory

 “Have a good shift!” The words of Khuli Nkala, our much loved friend, colleague and mentor who died from coronavirus, are being immortalised in a tribute to his memory.

A very special bench will be placed at the Newsam Centre, Leeds, where he worked and was a friend to so many.

And to mark the first anniversary of his death, staff and friends are also being invited to hold a minute’s silence at 10am on Saturday 17 April to honour the memory of our late colleague Khuli, a charge nurse in the Forensic Services team, who died from coronavirus on Friday 17 April 2020.

Claire Layton, Matron of Forensic Services, said: “We will all remember Khuli together at the same time, but apart, due to the current covid-related restrictions. Normally Khuli’s Zimbabwean culture would have been to celebrate his life with some good music and good food with his friends and family.

“We can’t do this at the moment but we feel this is the best way, informally, to mark that Khuli is gone but not forgotten. His family have been invited to join us remotely in this minute’s silence also.

“I hope that anyone in the Trust who wants to join in can do this at home wherever they are and dependent on whatever they are doing in their work or family life.”

Cathy Woffendin, Director of Nursing Professions and Quality, added: “I would like to share a collection of words and thoughts in relation to Khuli.

“Khuli was a man of integrity, honour and wit and had a smile that brightened up everyone’s day. His presence was felt by all who came into contact with him. He was kind, caring and compassionate, and was extremely professional.

“He was an excellent, positive role model for the nursing profession and he demonstrated the Trust values in his everyday work. Nothing was ever too much trouble. A kind, humble gentleman who continues to be greatly missed by everyone.”

She continued: “The last year has been particularly challenging with a time for reflection, at a time of sadness, for those of us who have lost loved ones and those we care about.

“As we have now reached the 12-month milestone of living within a pandemic, I would like to take the time to pay tribute to all our staff members who sadly died from Covid.”

An online memorial Mass for Khuli will be offered on Sunday 18 April at 11am at Leeds Cathedral. To participate, access the YouTube channel which will be live from 10.45 am at:

The memorial bench which has been commissioned and been engraved with “Have a good shift,” the phrase with which Khuli, a very much loved staff member whom many regarded as a father figure, greeted colleagues during his working day.

It will be placed in the central courtyard at the Newsam Centre, Leeds, where staff and service users can use it. Khuli’s wife, children and other members of his immediate family will be invited to see it once it is in place.

More about Khuli

Khuli, who was 46 years old when he died, was a well-respected and selfless professional nurse, who ‘always put the patient first’. He lived in his adopted city of Leeds but was originally born in Zimbabwe.

He joined the Trust in 2015 as a qualified Staff Nurse, having worked for many years at Stockton Hall near York, and progressed to Charge Nurse a year later. He also took on a number of extra shifts, both as a member of bank staff and with the Cygnet Health Group, and many other colleagues knew him through these networks.

Khuli was an active member of the Trust’s Workforce Race Equality Network and joined in with their activities when he could fit it around his working commitments and family life.

Khuli was someone who took his responsibilities as a trainer and professional mentor very seriously, taking many student nurses under his wing and taking the time to nurture the next generation of talent.

You can read tributes from colleagues published just after his death in April 2020 on our website