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Covid Remember Me memorial fund nears £1.5m thanks to tycoon's donation

The Remember Me campaign shifted up a gear yesterday thanks to a stunning £100,000 gift from businessman Mohamed Mansour – taking the cash raised by the Mail's drive past £1million.

Making his pledge, the Egyptian tycoon said he felt 'privileged and compelled' to support the multi-faith memorial to Covid victims at St Paul's Cathedral after seeing the grief caused by the pandemic.

Mr Mansour, who runs his empire from London, said the lasting tribute in the heart of the capital would become a 'national place to mourn for everyone and for every faith'.

His generosity has seen the total raised since the Mail first launched the fundraising drive smash through the £1million mark.

The Remember Me campaign shifted up a gear yesterday thanks to a stunning £100,000 gift from businessman Mohamed Mansour – taking the cash raised by the Mail's drive past £1million 

Making his pledge, the Egyptian tycoon (pictured) said he felt 'privileged and compelled' to support the multi-faith memorial to Covid victims at St Paul's Cathedral after seeing the grief caused by the pandemic

In addition to the money already collected by the cathedral itself, a total of almost £1.5million has now been pledged towards the £2.3million needed for the memorial.

The permanent memorial will feature a grand oak portico with the words 'Remember Me' engraved in several languages and is open to those of all faiths and none.

Inside, a chapel will display screens showing a virtual book of remembrance which it is hoped will bear the names and pictures of those lost – directly or indirectly – to Covid.

Faith leaders from Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Sikh organisations around Britain have already given their support for the space.

Giving his heartfelt backing, Mr Mansour said: 'I have been moved by the scale of the tragedy of the death toll from Covid and the 130,000 people who have died, the largest toll since the Second World War – grandparents, mothers, fathers and children – must never be forgotten.

'Running a global business from London my staff and I have seen the pain of grief for so many which is why I and hundreds of Daily Mail readers feel privileged and compelled to donate.'

The permanent memorial will feature a grand oak portico with the words 'Remember Me' engraved in several languages and is open to those of all faiths and none

The businessman oversees his family's global conglomerate the Mansour Group and founded Man Capital, its UK investment arm which is based in Knightsbridge.

He was forced to help rebuild his family's fortune after it was lost when Egypt's then president Gamal Abdel Nasser took away his late father Loutfy's cotton trading company in 1964.

It meant his childhood home was confiscated and his father forced to start from scratch, only to suffer the same fate again in Sudan in the 1970s. 

Mr Mansour rebuilt the family's fortune alongside his brothers and today the group has 60,000 employees in 100 countries and recently contributed $11million to support efforts against Covid.

Mr Mansour's endorsement yesterday followed generous pledges from entrepreneur Matt Moulding, Apprentice star Lord Sugar and philanthropists Sir Michael Hintze and Sir Tom Hunter.

It is hoped the memorial will be ready in time for the second anniversary of the pandemic next March. 

We must never forget their sacrifice: Families of three nurses who lost their lives back  

By Inderdeep Bains and Kamal Sultan for the Daily Mail 

The families of three nurses who dedicated their lives to the NHS and died when they contracted Covid after refusing to retire have backed the Mail's campaign to ensure they are 'never forgotten'.

The devastated yet proud families of Margaret Tapley, Alice Kit Tak Ong and Sophie Fagan support plans for a memorial at St Paul's Cathedral to ensure all NHS heroes like these women are remembered for years to come.

Mrs Tapley, 84, was a great-grandmother and auxiliary nurse who dedicated more than 40 years to helping patients. 

The families of three nurses who dedicated their lives to the NHS and died when they contracted Covid after refusing to retire have backed the Mail's campaign to ensure they are 'never forgotten'. Pictured: Margaret Tapley 

She died on April 19 last year – nine days after her last shift. 

Mrs Tapley, from Stanford in the Vale, Oxfordshire, 'gave her whole life to the NHS', said her granddaughter Hannah Tapley, 22.

Supporting the Mail's campaign, she added: 'So many people have been through similar experiences so having that extra support and somewhere to go is so important for everyone.'

Alice Kit Tak Ong, 70, died when she caught Covid early in the first wave after dedicating more than 44 years to the NHS. 

Despite her age, she refused to stop working full-time in two busy GP surgeries in north London.

The mother-of-one died on April 7 last year. She arrived in the UK in the 1970s from Hong Kong to work for the NHS because she believed it was 'the best in the world'.

Alice Kit Tak Ong, 70, died when she caught Covid early in the first wave after dedicating more than 44 years to the NHS

Her daughter Melissa Ong, 38, said: 'Mum loved her job, it was her life. She could have retired because she was 70 but she just loved her work so much and wanted to carry on.'

Backing the Mail's campaign, she said: 'It would be great to have somewhere permanent to go, for myself, my family, for my mother's friends and all her patients. There were so many who sent lovely messages and would like to remember her.'

Sophie Fagan, 78, who was described as 'part of the healthcare fabric in Hackney' spent more than half a century serving patients before she became unwell. 

Sophie Fagan, 78, who was described as 'part of the healthcare fabric in Hackney' spent more than half a century serving patients before she became unwell.

The grandmother, who began nursing in 1966, had been working as a care co-ordinator at Homerton Hospital in north-east London.

It was here she died after contracting the virus in April 2020. She had refused to retire and was still working in her role supporting carers in the week before she died. 

Mrs Fagan had arrived in England from India in 1961 to begin her nurse training. Her devastated daughter-in-law Deni Fagan said she was the 'most amazing mother and grandmother'.

Backing the Mail's campaign, she said: 'The lives of so many families like ours were completely changed by the pandemic and it is really important to remember that with a memorial like this.'

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