I was on top of the world when I left Love Island… two months later my family got worst news possible, says Faye Winter | The Sun

LAUGHING together on the sofa, Love Islander Faye Winter teases her dad about how much he dotes on his ‘grandchildren’ – two dogs owned by her and her sister.

They look like a happy family with no troubles. The only signs that things might not be perfect are that Keith Winter, 75, has the occasional cough and sometimes struggles to recall a detail in a story that Faye tells.

Just 20 months ago, Faye and her family were waiting by the phone for a call informing them that he had passed away after battling Covid.

Through tears, former Love Islander Faye tells The Sun that she didn’t think her dad would be there to see her turn 27 on the birthday date they both share.

Just weeks after she came out of the famous ITV2 villa, Keith was rushed to hospital and placed in a medically induced coma while he fought for his life.

Faye, who is backing The Sun’s Who Cares Wins awards, was stuck in London, hours away from her family, painfully aware that any time her phone rang it could be the devastating news that the killer virus had ended his life.


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She recalls: “I was really worried that he wouldn’t be here.

“We were always told that if he got Covid and went into a coma, that he wasn’t going to come out of it.

“I share my birthday with this man. He is my rock. I couldn’t imagine life without him. It was hard thinking about all the things he would have missed. I’m just so grateful to still have him here. It’s all thanks to the NHS.”

Now, she and Keith – who is suffering Long Covid symptoms – are backing The Sun’s Who Cares Wins Awards and urge YOU to nominate your health heroes.

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She came third in the 2021 Love Island series with then partner Teddy SoarsCredit: Rex

They are nominating the Covid medics who cared for Keith in the worst three weeks of the family’s life in the  Best Team category.

Faye says: “The NHS are incredible. I can’t fault them and I will be forever grateful for how they treated dad and saving his life, but also for how uplifting they were for the family at a horrific time.

“It takes one thing to be a nurse or a doctor, but it takes something special to be as compassionate as they were.

“We simply wouldn’t be Great Britain without the NHS. They make us great.

“If you have a health hero, please make sure you nominate them for an award.”

Former truck driver Keith, who is diabetic and has rheumatoid arthritis, medication for which suppresses his immune system,  spent three weeks in Torbay hospital, Devon, being looked after in a specialised Covid Unit – much of it in an induced coma.

Due to a government ban on visits to Covid patients, the family were reliant on the caring medics to keep them up to date with his condition and facilitate phone calls when he was conscious.

He credits the specialist team who cared for him round the clock with boosting his mental health alongside his physical health when he was unable to see his family .

Keith says: “The whole team were absolutely great, even after I came back home.

“I had one doctor who phoned me twice out of the blue to check how I was doing which was wonderful.

“He kept my sprits up by cracking jokes with me at a terrifying time. The NHS deserve all the respect in the world.”

When he first fell ill, Faye was in London carrying out press obligations with her villa beau Teddy Soars– meaning she heard about the seriousness of her dad’s condition second hand.

She, sister Joanne and mum Jan  relied on daily calls with NHS and eventually Keith when he was well enough to be woken from the coma.

Faye said: “It didn’t matter how many times we called or if we all called separately, the ward’s staff were amazing and talked us through everything.

It didn’t matter how many times we called or if we all called separately, the ward’s staff were amazing and talked us through everything

“Dad was less pleased to hear from us and was really grumpy – which is unlike him.

“He kept telling us how he didn’t want to be here any more because he was in so much pain and that he just wanted to die.

“It was really hard to hear. The nurses kept telling him he was being silly and did everything they could to help him get into a better headspace.”

Keith  lost a dramatic amount of weight while fighting the virus and has been left with debilitating symptoms of Long Covid including shortness of breath and memory loss.

But through the whole ordeal,  Faye says the care of the NHS team stopped it from being “even scarier” than it already was.

She says: “Our world was crumbling around us, and they did everything they could to keep us going.

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“All they wanted to do was help. They made us feel like nothing was too much.”

Has a health hero helped you or your family? Click on the form above or go to thesun.co.uk/whocareswins and fill out the simple form to nominate them by no later than July 31.

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