Swine flu leads to social worker's death

Victoria LeggettThe family of a bright and bubbly social worker who died from complications brought on by swine flu say they 'don't know how life will go on without her'.Victoria Leggett

The family of a bright and bubbly Norfolk woman who died

from complications brought on by swine flu say they cannot imagine life without her.

Alison Beales, of North Walsham, was struck down by the illness on New Year's Eve and was taken

to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital a couple of

days later when her sugar levels rocketed.

The 30-year-old social worker, who was diabetic, was in intensive care for two days before being transferred to Papworth Hospital, Cambridge-shire.

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She was ready to undergo specialist treatment to oxygenate the blood outside the body but, having devel-oped pneumonia, died on Wednesday last week before doctors could begin the process.

Her parents were told by doctors that the cause of death was pneumonia brought on by swine


Last night, her family, still in shock, said they were overwhelmed by the number of tributes that they had received from people touched by Alison during her life.

Sitting in a room full of condolence cards, her mother Shirley said: "I have had letters from people I don't even know. She did everything for everybody.

"I just don't know how life will go on without her."

Known as Ali, the keen singer attended North Walsham's infant, junior and high schools as well as Paston College before heading off

to study at Oxford Brookes University.

When she returned to her home county, Alison trained as a social worker with Norfolk County

Council, gaining a masters degree from the University of East Anglia, and then threw herself into the


Her father Colin said: "That job was ideal for her. She had so much to offer. What a waste of life."

Mrs Beales said that, for Alison, it was her family who always came first.

Even when living away, she

would never go to bed without calling her dad to tell him that she loved


Mrs Beales recalled: "She even wrote that on my arm while she was really ill in hospital: 'Tell everybody I love them.'"

Alison had particularly adored her brother Stephen's children, five-year-old Hannah and nine-month-old Joshua. At Christmas, their aunt had organised a huge pass-the-parcel game for them and played musical chairs.

At her funeral, taking place at St Nicholas Church, North Walsham, on Tuesday (2pm), mourners

have been asked to wear a bright scarf or tie to reflect her person-


Donations will be collected for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital critical care unit and for Leicester Hospital's extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) unit, which had flown doctors to Papworth to treat Alison before she died.

Last year, the United Kingdom

took large-scale precautions against the swine flu pandemic after the illness had spread quickly during the first few months and a number of deaths had been linked to it.

Norfolk has had just one confirmed swine flu death, and the number of reported cases, based on people collecting anti-viral medication, has dropped to eight a day.