Tributes have been paid to a "selfless" surgeon who died from Covid last weekend after spending two months working on Swindon's wards helping others to fight the virus.

Dr Irfan Halim, 45, who spent the past two years treating patients on Covid wards, died after a nine-week battle with the virus last Sunday.

The chief executive of GWH said the trust was "devastated" and described Dr Halim as "selflessly dedicated".

The father of four collapsed during a shift at Great Western Hospital on September 10 and stayed in ICU in Swindon until September 23.

He was then transferred to the Royal Brompton Hospital where he died in his wife Saila's arms and surrounded by his brother, sister and friends.

His wife believes he contracted Covid working on GWH's Covid wards.

Dr Halim was fully vaccinated and wore PPE on the wards. He commuted two hours from his Barking home to Swindon to treat Covid patients.

He spent four months away from his family at the height of the pandemic.

Saila wrote: "With a broken heart shattered in pieces beyond imagination I muster what little strength I have to write this message.

"Irfan you gave me fifteen magical years as your wife, four beautiful children, wonderful memories that will last me until my remaining days in this world.

"My beloved Irfan passed away on the Sunday 14th November at 7:51pm peacefully whilst I held him in my arms whispering prayers and love into his ears.

Swindon Advertiser:

"Irfan you were not only my best friend but a best friend to all our children and so many others."

Dr Halim worked as a consultant general surgeon for 25 years, specialising in laparoscopic surgery.

Chief executive of GWH Kevin McNamara said: “We are devastated to have lost another member of our team following the deaths of Dr Edmond Adedeji and Dr Thaung Htaik last year.

“Dr Irfan Halim worked with us as a locum Consultant for a year and was an invaluable member of the team looking after patients with Covid.

"He selflessly dedicated himself to caring for his patients when they needed him the most during the pandemic.

"He will be sorely missed by those who worked with him, and by the whole organisation.

“On behalf of the whole Trust, I would like to extend our sincere condolences to Irfan’s family and we ask that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time.”

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland tweeted: "Very sad to learn this. He was a dedicated professional who gave his life as he helped to save the lives of others."

A fundraiser set up to support Dr Halim's wife and four children has already raised more than £126,000 to "ease the burden or losing Irfan [who] was the sole breadwinner for this family." Click here to donate.