THE family of a Kidderminster nursery founder who died from coronavirus has described her death as "an absolute tragedy" and warned others to take the virus seriously.

Gwen Spencer, who lived at Berrington Court nursing home, died in hospital on Sunday (March 29) after testing positive for Covid-19.

The 81-year-old had placed herself into self-isolation eight days earlier after experiencing symptoms, but was taken into hospital on Thursday where she later died, with daughter Clare by her side.

Redditch Advertiser: Gwen Spencer with her four children Kevan, Clare, Lucy and MikeGwen Spencer with her four children Kevan, Clare, Lucy and Mike

The Community Housing Group, which runs Berrington Court, commended Gwen for self-isolating at the earliest opportunity to prevent the spread of the virus, describing her as an "extremely brave lady".

Paying tribute to her, Gwen's family said: "She was loved by everyone and highly respected by all that knew her.

"The sudden loss of her vibrant, loving life is an absolute tragedy and has shocked the community.

"At the end of her life, she was brave and as always thought of others before herself by self-isolating and doing everything possible to protect those around her, despite feeling so very poorly."

In 1982, Gwen founded Church House Day Nursery in the family's home in Bewdley.

The nursery is still operating today in Brook Street, Kidderminster, now under Gwen's daughter Clare, who described her mum as a "much-loved Aunty Gwen to hundreds of children" that were cared for there.

Gwen's family added: "She was a wonderful mother, grandmother and great grandmother.

"The world is a poorer place with the loss of Gwen, and her children Kevan, Clare, Lucy and Mike could not have been more blessed to have had her in their lives and to have experienced her love and dedication."

Speaking to The Shuttle, daughter Clare warned others to take the virus seriously.

She said: "My mum did everything to protect herself. Even when she was poorly, I wasn't allowed to go and look after her.

"I would urge people to take this seriously.

"My mum was very fit and healthy and had a great life ahead, but this virus completely wiped her out. It's terrible."

A spokesman for Berrington Court said it had alerted other residents of the death and continues to follow Government guidelines.