Scousers stand together in grief for popular LFC stadium worker

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Readers have called on the city to "stand together" and beat coronavirus after the death of a ppoular Liverpool FC stadium worker.

Tributes were paid to Paul Smith, who was head host at the club's Carlsberg lounge, and last week was sent poignant video messages of support from Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher as he lay in hospital fighting for his life.

Nurses played the emotional rallying cry from Liverpool's former captain during the 56-year-old's struggle against Covid-19, which ended on Thursday.

Mr Smith's young daughter Megan described her pride in her dad, calling him her "best friend" who he nicknamed "my shadow".

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In Steven Gerrard's message the ex-midfielder told Paul: "I've been told you've been in hospital recently, and you're quite poorly.

"It's important, mate, you keep fighting, you stay strong and be as brave as you can.

Paul Smith with his daughter Megan

"We need to get you home to your girls, Megan and Marie [his wife], as soon as we can.

"So you keep hanging in there mate, and fight as hard you can, push, be brave and I'm sure we'll get you home as soon as possible.

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"Take care pal, all the best."

In a similar message, Carragher told him: "…I know you're not too good at the moment.

"But we're thinking of you, fingers crossed you come through it all, it's a tough time for us all, especially you at the moment.

"But, you've got loads of Reds especially thinking of you, hopefully speak to you soon and stay safe."

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ECHO readers shared their condolences online for Paul, who had six children in total.

Myneer Salah posted on Facebook: "Top top fella who loved his family and LFC. The wholesalers won’t be the same without Paul on the till . RIP Paul YNWA."

Sheila Cain wrote: "Rest in peace Paul fly high with all the other angels. Nwbf YNWA. Xxx"

On the ECHO website a reader using the profile TheTruth2019 posted: "R.i.p m8 and condolences to family YNWA. As a city we will stand strong and beat this disgusting virus all together, so we don't have to lose anymore.

"It attacks anyone, fit, unfit, underlying issues or not, everyone is vulnerable, stay safe, stay at home protect our NHS and there famiIies I Beg PLEASE."

Paul Smith, the Liverpool FC stadium lounge boss, who died of Covid-19

Another user called Nav1878 posted: "Too young and it sounds like he is gonna be a huge loss to many. Please take this virus seriously.

"May his family and friends be comforted in their darkest hours. R.I.P."

Paul spent a fortnight on a ventilator in the Royal Liverpool Hospital before the virus proved too much.

As he slipped away, medics played "You'll Never Walk Alone" to him in the ward on a phone as a final tribute.

Over the last three days, other messages from past Liverpool FC stars including Jan Molby, Bruce Grobbelaar, Alan Kennedy and Ian St John have inundated the Smith family.

It is something that has, at some point, touched all our lives.

From cradle to grave, the National Health Service, and the incredible professionals within it who care for us, is a part of British life.

Today, more than ever, we should cherish those who dedicate themselves to our care, heedless of their own health as they work tirelessly to care for people in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nurses and others – employed by the NHS and any other part of health and care – we have never needed them more.

So let’s show them some love, and create a living map of gratitude from every corner of Britain.

Click HERE to drop a heart on the map, and show you appreciate the efforts undertaken daily in the NHS.

Thanks a million, NHS workers – we love you.

Yesterday, Jurgen Klopp telephoned Anfield head steward Paul Kelly, the dad-of-two's best friend, and asked for his condolences to be passed to his loved ones.

The message included a clip of the Kop boss giving a fond wink and holding his hands in a prayer-like gesture.

Paul, who lived in Vauxhall, worked at Anfield for 28 years, initially as a steward, before going on to work in the lounges where he established a rapport with everyone at the club.

Paul Smith, with his wife Marie and daughter Megan

Heartbroken daughter Megan, 21, said NHS staff looking after him had been "amazing" and the family "couldn't have asked for anymore."

Herself a Liverpool FC employee in the museum and tours department, she told the ECHO: "My dad was a gentleman.

"He did things for people, but he never wanted anything in return.

If you have been affected by any of the details mentioned in this story there are people who can help you.

Most people grieve when they lose something or someone important to them.

The way grief affects you depends on lots of things, including what kind of loss you have suffered, your upbringing, your beliefs or religion, your age, your relationships, and your physical and mental health.

Grieving is a totally normal process but there are way to get help if you need support.

Your GP is a good place to start. They can give you advice about other support services, refer you to a counsellor, or prescribe medication if needed.

Or you can contact support organisations directly, such as Cruse Bereavement Care (0808 808 1677) Samaritans (116 123) or Love Jasmine.

"I can't be more proud to call him my dad, my heart feels like it will burst when I think about him.

"He was my best friend, I followed him everywhere, he called me his 'shadow.'

"Now he's fine and in no pain.

"The doctors kept him as comfortable as they could.

"My dad was just too tired in the end, it was a fight he could never win."

Before he died, Megan and his wife Marie, 57, were allowed to be at his bedside, while wearing full personal protective equipment(PPE).

Megan spent 10 minutes with him, but with her mum keen her young daughter didn't see him at the very end, she left before his wife stayed with him until he passed away.

Nurses have given the Smith family the Liverpool FC shirt in which he was admitted to hospital which will be used at his forthcoming funeral.

Also to be placed in his coffin will be his comb, aftershave, chewing gum and tissues, all items personal to the hardworking dad, who also held down a second job at Parfetts cash and carry in Aintree for the last 30 years.

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