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Tributes to ‘dedicated’ Forest Gate Met Police worker who died after testing positive for Covid-19

PUBLISHED: 17:04 28 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:16 29 May 2020

Ramesh Gunamal worked at Forest Gate police station for 12 years. He died on May 9 after testing positive for Covid-19. Picture: Courtesy of the family

Ramesh Gunamal worked at Forest Gate police station for 12 years. He died on May 9 after testing positive for Covid-19. Picture: Courtesy of the family

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The family of a Met Police worker who died after testing positive for Covid-19 has paid tribute to “a pillar of love, inspiration and joy”.

Mr Gunamal spent most of his working life in sales but at the age of 58 his application to work for the Met police was successful. He went on to serve as a public access officer. Picture: MPSMr Gunamal spent most of his working life in sales but at the age of 58 his application to work for the Met police was successful. He went on to serve as a public access officer. Picture: MPS

Ramesh Gunamal worked for 12 years at Forest Gate police station fulfilling his ambition to serve the community and make an impact on people’s lives.

He was still serving until he tested positive for the virus, passing away aged 70 on May 9 after fighting “long and hard” against the illness for 42 days following his admission into intensive care on March 29.

His family said in a statement: “Ramesh was a well loved individual who touched and inspired the hearts of many.

“He always loved helping people. He was a father figure and role model who people looked up to.

Met police and staff pay their respects during Mr Gunamal's funeral. Picture: Courtesy of the familyMet police and staff pay their respects during Mr Gunamal's funeral. Picture: Courtesy of the family

“He was such a jolly person who will always be remembered for his infectious smile and generosity. He would be willing to help anyone at a moment’s notice without thinking twice.

“Not only has this affected the family but also all his friends, colleagues and those who crossed paths with him. Everyone is deeply saddened to have suddenly lost a pillar of love, inspiration and joy.”

A food lover, Mr Gunamal supported charitable causes and enjoyed Hollywood as well as Bollywood movies.

He spent most of his working life in sales, but at the age of 58 applied for a job as a public access officer with the Met.

His heart was set on it even though he knew it would be physically, mentally and emotionally demanding. He also knew the 12 week-long training, fitness test and exam would be a challenge after not having sat an examination since leaving school.

But he set himself the goal to lose weight, eat healthier and pursue endurance training, joining his son Tarun in the gym every day.

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The family said: “Knowing what he would expect in the training, he turned his life around 180 degrees to do something he had never done before that would push him way out of his comfort zone.

“He always believed that anyone can achieve their dreams and ambitions no matter who they are, what background they are from or what age they were.”

And his efforts paid off when he was appointed to his dream job.

“What kept him going was the reason he was doing it – to serve and make a difference to the lives of others. This empowered, motivated and inspired him to keep going.

“He had shown all of us that anything is possible when you put your heart in it and that teamwork does make the dream work,” the family stated.

Mr Gunamal worked in the front office, supporting vulnerable people coming into the Romford Road station.

“Being with the Met was an honour. There was nothing he liked better than to serve the community with a smile,” the family said.

At his funeral on May 18 more than 100 officers and staff came to pay their respects, flying a flag at half-mast to honour and salute him as the hearse pulled into the police station.

The family added: “This was done in honour of the love, service and dedication he gave to the Met over the years. They have been very supportive to the family since my father’s passing and we are grateful for this love and support.”

Commander Richard Tucker said: “The north east borough command unit policing family expresses its deepest sympathy and condolences for the tragic passing of Ramesh.

“He was a valued member of our team, who will be remembered for his kindness and commitment to public service. Ramesh will be sorely missed by us all.”

The family stated: “His strength and courage have left a lasting impression of hope and faith in many including the medical staff who treated him and those who did not know him in the hospital.”

And they add that to this day staff still remember Mr Gunamal with plans to collaborate with Tarun to create a sound healing project in his honour for other intensive care patients.


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