Northamptonshire post workers' tribute to 'gentle giant' union official who fought their corner for 17 years
Bola Omoyeni believed to have died 'just a few hours after being taken to hospital with Covid-19'
Post workers in Northamptonshire have paid tributes to popular union official Bola Omoyeni, who is believed to have died after contracting Covid-19.
Mr Omoyeni, who worked at Royal Mail's National Distribution Centre near Daventry for 17 years, was described as a "gentle giant" and "a big man with a big heart."
Friends in his native Nigeria revealed he died last week just a few hours after being taken to hospital.
One former colleague, Mick Fitzmaurice, said: "Bola was a larger than life character with an infectious laugh and great humour.
"He would like to cuddle you when he was happy or sad which was most unusual for a man of his size but I always considered it to be one of his strengths.
"I hope Royal Mail will do everything possible to ensure that his family are looked after at this very sad time."
A close family friend Kenny Daodu wrote on Facebook: "Bola Omoyeni passed away from coronavirus crisis. He was taken to the hospital yesterday and was pronounced dead just few hours later."
Mr Omoyeni was a Communication Workers Union official representing members at local level and a national equality officer who moved from London to work at the Royal Mail's new flagship centre at Crick.
The CWU South Midlands Postal branch changed their Facebook page to carry his picture as a tribute.
Mr Fitzmaurice, who lives in Northampton, added: "I first met Bola in 2003 after he moved up to Milton Keynes from London to be near his family. I was CWU branch secretary at the time.
"He was a large man but I never heard him shout or lose his temper, even when industrial relations were tense in Royal Mail, and he did not have an ounce of malice or aggression in him.
"We would also socialise outside work and share stories as our children were growing up. I never got to meet Bola’s family because many of them lived in Nigeria but he often told me stories and how he missed them all.
"One of his biggest achievements was the introduction of a prayer room and welfare facilities to reflect the diversity of all employees."
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said: "Bola was a friend and colleague to many CWU reps around the country and made a great contribution to representing our members. He spent over 30 years working for Royal Mail.
"We are sure we speak on behalf of the whole of the union in sending our sincere condolences to his family and friends."
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