CORONAVIRUS has claimed the life of a mother from Rocester. Rutendo Mukotsanjera, aged 45, was a mental health support worker and single mum. Her daughter, Chiedza - known as Chichi - is just 12 years old.
Rutendo died on Friday, April 10 after contracting coronavirus Covid-19. An active member of Renew Church Uttoxeter, Rutendo volunteered with the church, which has now rallied to look after her daughter and has raised more the £27,000 to help provide for her future.
Pastor Matthew Murray helped organise care for Chichi when Rutendo was first taken ill. He said: “Rutendo and Chichi moved to the area around five years ago and we just really embraced them. Rutendo was a great part of our church.
“She was part of our Care Home Outreach Team before the Covid-19 outbreak and would go to care homes where she would help people, give gifts and sing to them. She was also an integral part of our life groups, which meet at people’s homes to read the Bible and for prayer.
“Rutendo very much loved being part of our church and was an a very important part of our church. “She was an incredible Christian lady who was generous and kind. Chichi was her world.”
Rutendo was a mental health support worker and often took on extra shifts to support her daughter, who was a pupil at Painsley Catholic College in Cheadle. Pastor Murray added: “I had been in touch with the hospital team as Rutendo had been in hospital fighting the virus for about two weeks.
“We’d been looking after Chichi since then as there was nowhere else for her to go. We were in touch with Rutendo every day, talking to her and praying with her. We knew when things were starting to get very serious.
“When the doctors told us it was quite heart-breaking. We always believed she would pull through, but it was clearly her time. As Christians we don’t look at death with despair. She’s now in a better place, she doesn’t have pain and she is with Jesus. Although we will deeply miss her, we have accepted it was her time. Now we have to do what we can to help Chichi.”
Over the Easter weekend, more than 1,000 fellow church members and well-wishers have raised over £27,000 which will pay for any funeral or legal costs, with the rest being put into a fund to help provide for Chichi. The money is being raised by One By One, a charity associated to Renew Church. 100 per cent of funds will be passed to Renew Church.
A management committee has already been formed within the church made up of Rutendo’s closest friends as well as a representative from Renew’s board of trustees. All funds donated will be given to help Chichi at the discretion of the committee.
Pastor Murray said: “Everyone has done their bit. Some have given £1,000, other have given hundreds, ten, fives, ones and twos. Everyone has chipped in with what they could. It can’t replace her mum, but it will give her some options as she grows older.
“We are putting a support network around her and she has relatives in the UK and Zimbabwe, so we are all working together to work out the best course of action. Chichi is with a member of the church and is in very safe hands. She’s been telling me stories about her mum and obviously is very sad. “But Chichi is a strong Christian, so her faith is helping her right now.”
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