Peter Hart with his daughter Lauren and son Daniel

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The grieving daughter of a healthy hospital worker who died from coronavirus has spoken of her disbelief at people still ignoring lockdown restrictions.

Lauren Hart's dad Peter spent a month on a ventilator being cared for by his own colleagues at East Surrey Hospital intensive care unit before dying on his 52nd birthday.

The emergency care practitioner and former paramedic had initially fallen ill in April and deteriorated quickly, Surrey Live reported.

Following his death Lauren has struggled seeing Covid-denier protesters camped outside the hospitals where hundreds of sick are dying from the virus each day.

She has spoken of her dismay that many are still ignoring restrictions designed to get its rampant spread under control.

Lauren has urged everyone to follow restrictions after her dad Peter died

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"It happened eight months ago but obviously it is still very raw and especially because it has been a strange time for everybody with lockdown and restrictions, we kind of don't feel like time has passed very much," said Lauren, 23, from Smallfield.

"Recently, the protests that have been happening have made it much more difficult.

"A lot of people still don't understand the severity of Covid, and how it can affect anybody."

Peter worked as a management consultant until switching careers in his 40s to work in the NHS.

So passionate was he about his new vocation that he would go to the Redhill hospital on his day off to provide pet therapy for patients with the help of the family dog.

Lauren worked on reception at A&E with him while she was a student.

Lauren worked on A&E reception where her dad was employed

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"My dad was active; there was nothing wrong with him at all," she said.

"For us we just never thought we would ever end up in the situation we did.

"He contracted the virus in April. We just thought he would be ill for a few days and would then get over it."

Lauren drove Peter to the hospital on Easter Sunday when his breathing began to deteriorate.

She said: "A lot of his colleagues were quite worried about him but reassured him and said 'it will be fine, we will get him some oxygen, he'll probably be on a ward for a few days and then he'll be back with you'.

"At the time I didn't think of giving him a hug. He was so unwell, I just patted him on the shoulder and said I'd see him in a few days.

"That was the last time I said anything to him in person."

Relatives are only allowed to visit Covid-19 patients when it appears they are about to die.

During the 30 days Peter was on a ventilator, his wife, Helen, was called in four times

Lauren and her siblings – brother Daniel, 24, a doctor, and their little sister Eliana, now 10, went to see him twice.

"There are so many things I could say about him," Lauren said.

"He was the most passionate, energetic person…people say their dad is their hero; he really was my hero.

The 52-year-old had swapped careers in his forties

"He just had such a heart for people, he loved to be able to help people and make them smile and that is something he did with his job on a daily basis."

She added: "He was such a kind-hearted and lovely human being and I know so many people at East Surrey miss him."

Lauren urged everyone to do what is needed in the fight against Covid-19.

"I hear how severe it is, how tired the staff are, how many more patients are coming in with Covid, and the statistics," she said.

A card made for Peter by his then nine-year-old daughter

"And then you get people outside St Thomas' Hospital saying it's all a hoax.

"I can't even imagine how disheartening that is for the staff.

"People just need to understand, you may be fit and healthy but you just don't know how the virus will affect you," she added.

"For us, sitting in our homes, we have heating, we have TV, we have family members – compared to what the NHS staff are having to do on a daily basis, the least we can do is be at home and try our best to contribute in our own way."