Memorial mass held for Indian-origin nurse at Bristol

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London, Dec 15: A memorial mass in memory of Jacintha Saldanha, the Indian-origin nurse found dead following a hoax call to a London hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge, has taken place at Bristol. Jacintha Saldanha's friends and family attended St Teresa's Church in Bristol last evening to honour her memory. Her husband Benedict Barboza held the hands of his children Lisha, 14, and Junal, 16, as they entered the church. They had earlier been greeted by Father Tom Finnegan, who gave a comforting hug to Junal. A picture of Jacintha was placed at the foot of the altar, surrounded by flowers.

Jacintha was a keen member of the church and regularly attended two different churches in Bristol with her family. Fr Tom spoke only briefly about the King Edward VII nurse, whose hanged body was discovered a week ago in London. He then invited members of the congregation to light a candle in memory of tragic Jacintha. The priest read out messages from her two children and husband.

Through Fr Tom, Junal and Lisha said: "We will miss your laughter and loving smile and memories we had together. The house is empty. We are shattered and there is an unfillable void in our lives. We love you mum." Benedict, through the priest, said: "I love you and I will miss you forever." The family did not speak after the hour-long service. The service was being held as the body of the mother-of-two was flown back to India for her funeral.

Meanwhile, a private memorial service was held today at the King Edward VII's Hospital where she worked. Staff gathered at the London hospital to pay their respects to Saldanha, a mother-of-two from Bristol, who was found hanging in her nurses' quarters by a colleague and a security guard last Friday. The nurse transferred the DJs, believing they were the Queen and Prince of Wales, to a colleague who described in detail the condition of the Duchess of Cambridge during her hospital stay for severe pregnancy sickness.

"King Edward VII's is a small hospital, with a tight-knit team. Everybody knew Jacintha and we were all left deeply shocked by her tragic death following the hoax telephone call. Today's service was a chance for everyone here to pay their respects and remember a dear colleague," John Lofthouse, chief executive at the hospital, said. An inquest into her death yesterday heard that Saldanha left three suicide notes, with The Guardian reporting that one of the notes criticised staff at the hospital. It is believed the nurse's suicide note has left her grieving family furious, with husband Ben Barboza understood to want an inquiry into the hospital.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror about Saldanha's suicide notes, a source close to the family said: "One of the letters, which is the longest, deals with the hospital and is critical in its tone. Needless to say, Ben wants a full inquiry into what happened and he wants to make sure the truth comes out. Within the letter, Jacintha calls into question some of the treatment she received at the hospital."

PTI

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