An NHS mental health nurse has died after suffering a sudden brain aneurysm while eating dinner at home.
Coral Burford, 55, was sat at the table with her husband Bob Gliddon at their home in Rowhedge, near Colchester, Essex, last month.
But the ‘healthy’ 55-year-old sadly suffered a severe and sudden brain aneurysm, which would later prove fatal.
She was rushed to hospital on Friday, February 12, and sadly passed away a day later.
Coral’s daughter told Essex Live she was “the strongest woman that I’ve ever met in my life” who “always put everyone else in front of herself.”
She had worked in the NHS for decades and cared for and treated hundreds of patients across Essex during her work as a mental health nurse and CBT therapist.
“It literally happened in front of my face across the dinner table,” said Bob, a 61-year-old chimney-sweep originally from Epping.
“It just happened, which was a terrible shock for us all.
“She was 55 at the time, we all feel a bit cheated really, it was too soon.”
Originally from Derbyshire, Coral moved to Kent before settling down in Chelmsford.
For years, Coral had worked as a mental health nurse for the NHS, after originally training as a counsellor at a GP surgery in Danbury.
Bob added: “She was a big, passionate supporter for the NHS and would go on marches for better conditions for workers.
“She never wanted to be beaten, if she wasn’t good enough at something she’d buy 20 books and get better at it.
“She never put up with second best.
“This is all very hard for us at the moment.”
Outside of her working life, Coral also became a passionate volunteer for animal charities across Essex.
Her husband Bob would often help injured birds which he would find through his job.
He began to take an interest in helping animals and wildlife, which Coral took to the next level.
Bob said: “We’d drive off all times of the day and night to help an injured bird in Witham or something.
“Rather like everything else she took up, she threw herself into it with a passion.
“She would never do anything half-measures, she would always get absolutely stuck into something.
“We got involved in with the Boreham Hedgehog Rescue, and she was a big supporter for many years of the Dog’s Trust.
“We were always sitting in our gardens in the evenings watching the hedgehogs turn up; they got quite used to use by the end and used to walk by our feet.”
Her daughter, 30-year-old Catherine Clements, also remembers a time when she found an abandoned dog when she was 18.
“I remember once, I found a little Jack Russell tied to a tree and it was during the snowy season,” said Catherine.
“I rung Mum and asked: ‘What do I do?’
“She said: ‘Well bring it home, just bring it home.’
“We brought it home and she did this massive Facebook campaign to find the right owners, and you couldn’t have found a better person for it.
“She got in touch with the Jack Russell Society – I didn’t even know there was a Jack Russell society.
“She went out of her way to make sure that dog got the best it could.
“She always put everyone else in front of herself.”
Such was the respect everyone had for Coral, Catherine even followed in her footsteps for her career.
“I’m a mental health nurse now because she inspired me to do that,” said the mum-of-two from Sudbury.
“I got my ten-year certificate in the NHS last week.
“The biggest word that comes to mind when I think of my Mum is ‘strong’
“She was the strongest woman that I’ve ever met in my life.
“She had a really rough upbringing, and she couldn’t have been a better mother to me. She was amazing.”
Coral was a keen photographer of animals and wildlife.
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She had even won photo competitions held by EssexLive, with her pictures featured on our website and social media channels multiple times.
It started when Bob tried to get into photography, but it quickly became very clear that Coral had a talent herself.
Bob said: “I’d got a camera myself and just couldn’t get on with it, but she got very good at it, she had a real eye for it.
“She was talented.”
Her photos were loved by people across Essex in various different Facebook groups, many of whom have got in touch since her death.
Bob said: “She impacted a lot of people’s lives that she never even met.
“She was well loved and I’m very proud of her.”
Her family has set up a GoFundMe to support three animal charities Coral was involved in: Dog’s Trust, the Colchester Owl Sanctuary and Helping Suffolk Hedgehogs.