Trainee GP Rory Nolan, 29, hasn’t seen his wife, Catriona, 26, and daughter Francesca in over two months after they decided to temporarily live apart so he could continue working on the front line.
As a result, Dr Nolan spent his daughter’s birthday working at a hospital in Greater Manchester helping sick people.
However, Nolan’s colleagues at the hospital stepped in to make sure that father and daughter could still have a special day despite being over 100 miles apart.
“My biggest fear when the girls moved out was missing her birthday. I didn’t allow myself to think about it until a couple of weeks ago when it was clear we would be apart,” Nolan told Press Association.
“Knowing we were having a Skype birthday lunch, the night before, a colleague brought in a professionally made, custom cake for me to have at the same time as Francesca had hers.”
Medics at the hospital also arranged balloons, banners and bunting for Nolan’s arrival into work.
“But it didn’t stop there, I arrived into work to balloons, banners, personalised ‘Francesca’ bunting, cards, presents and so much love and kindness from my A&E colleagues and others from all around the hospital,” he explained
Nolan said he was missing his daughter learning to walk and talk after Mrs Nolan, a primary school teacher, moved from Manchester to Gloucestershire to stay with her parents.
“Being apart from my little girl on her first birthday is something I won’t be able to get back, but I will always look back on the day with fond memories,” Nolan added.
“As a family, we are not alone in being separated,” he added.
“I work in a small hospital and in a small A&E department, and I am one of many who has isolated from their family.
“We are not heroes, we’re just doing the job we’re trained to do, but if this story can stop just one person going out when they don’t need to then I’ll be happy.”
Mrs Nolan recently returned to work from maternity leave and has been working from her parents’ house during lockdown, helped by her parents and brother who assist in looking after Francesca.
She says Francesca is missing her father.
“Francesca’s favourite person in the world has always been her daddy from day one and we also knew it would mean leaving Rory living alone in Manchester,” she added.
“Luckily Rory’s family live close by so have been able to go shopping for him, cook him meals and have our nieces draw him pictures.
“It has been difficult to count down when we can see each other again, as we have done in the past when Rory has travelled with work.
“But currently there is no date set for when we can all be together as a family. That’s been difficult to come to terms with.”
Additional reporting by Megan Baynes
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies