Express & Star

Memorial service for hero hospital worker who died on intensive care unit where he worked

Colleagues are holding a memorial service for a much-loved hospital worker who collapsed and died on the Intensive Care Unit where he worked.

Roberto Villaneuva collapsed and died on the Intensive Care Unit where he worked at Walsall Manor Hospital a year ago.

Roberto Villaneuva, who has been described as a "shining light", died in the ICU at Walsall Manor Hospital a year ago today, on September 22, 2022. His widow, Aldanel, works on the same unit as a nurse.

The 50-year-old father-of-three and charge nurse was a key member of staff on the unit and would dress up as Santa to keep spirits high for his colleagues at Christmas.

And today, his colleagues will pay tribute to him with a short service at 11.45am led by the hospital's chaplaincy and spirtual care team, followed by a two minute's silence.

At 12pm, a memorial service will be held at St Mary’s The Mount Catholic Church in Glebe Street, Walsall.

A poem written by Sister Claire Horney and Lynne Thorpe will also be read out before LED candles are lit in his memory.

Angela Dixon, matron on ICU, said: “Many of us cannot remember a time on ICU without Rob.

“His ongoing commitment and enthusiasm for critical care, particularly his never tiring involvement in the development and success of the new unit, has meant that whenever we think of ICU we think of Rob

“As colleagues we witnessed his professional growth starting at Walsall as a Staff Nurse then through promotion to a senior Charge Nurse.

"The leadership, dedication and support he has provided to the critical care team over many years has earned him love and respect from all members of that team

“At work Rob had a smile for everyone and when you were on shift with him he always made the day easier with his jokes and light heartedness.

"At the same time, you knew you could rely on him to lead the team through difficult and stressful shifts – of which our ICU has seen many.”

Siobhan Rudd, professional development nurse, worked with Rob for 20 years and said he was loved and cherished by staff and patients alike.

She said: “Robert was an excellent mentor to all and a friend to everyone he met. He was well known for his infectious smile and devious laugh and was a shining light within ICU.

“At Christmas he was Santa for staff ,delivering presents to those working and held easter egg hunts for staff. He was caring and compassionate, with a kind word for everyone.

"The patients loved him and he was an amazing nurse. He was a pioneer for change, making sure care was always delivered to the best of our ability and we will always miss him.”

Colleagues wrote the following poem to remember Rob:

Our Hero Rob

A Year has passed since we lost our friend

The sadness and upset will never end

We miss him so much each and every day

Time’s a great healer so they say

But his laughter we can still hear don’t know how

And still can hear him say “Oh Wow”

He looked after the pumps equipment too

A very clever man with all he knew

He loved his family, his job too

In fact, he loved everyone he knew

He was definitely one of the best

It broke our hearts to put him to rest

We send to him up above

Our kindest thoughts and all our love

His presence we miss

His memory we treasure

Loving him always

Forgetting him never