Hus­band’s lov­ing trib­ute to ‘com­pas­sion­ate’ Mil­dred

Ex­clu­sive

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Popular Nurse Died In Car Crash - By Dan Wright

A tal­ented nurse killed in a three-car crash has been de­scribed as a pil­lar of strength who ded­i­cated her­self to help­ing oth­ers.

Mother-of-two Mil­dred Matete Hlabi, 43, was a pas­sen­ger in a car trav­el­ling to a wake when it col­lided with a van in East Peck­ham near Maid­stone.

The Beaver Road res­i­dent – who had worked at the Wil­liam Har­vey Hospi­tal and at numer­ous care homes in the town – was pro­nounced dead at the scene on De­cem­ber 13.

Her fam­ily has now paid a glow­ing trib­ute to the Zim­bab­wean, who was a re­spected dea­coness at the Foun­tain Church near Lea­con Road, Ash­ford.

Her hus­band Moses said: “I first met Mil­dred in 1986 and we have been to­gether ever since.

“I re­ally miss her and she was very com­pas­sion­ate and a kind lady.

“She leaves a big void be­cause she was a pil­lar of strength – Mil­dred was not only well known through the church, but also through her nurs­ing as she cared for so many peo­ple.”

Mrs Matete Hlabi worked as a nurse at the Park View Care Cen­tre in Kingsnorth af­ter mov­ing from Zim­babwe to God­in­ton Road in 2004.

She later lived in Church Road in Willes­bor­ough and joined the Ash­ford Nurs­ing Home in Hythe Road be­fore switch­ing to the Har­vey.

Last year, she got a job at the pri­vate KIMS Hospi­tal in Maid­stone while liv­ing in Beaver Road.

Mr Hlabi – who is study­ing men­tal health nurs­ing at univer­sity af­ter be­ing in­spired by his wife – says she had a nat­u­ral affin­ity for nurs­ing af­ter car­ing for her blind mother as a child.

“She was an only child and she did re­ally well look­ing af­ter her mother,” he said.

“Mil­dred loved mov­ing around be­cause she wanted to get a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence in dif­fer­ent jobs – she was very tal­ented and in­tel­li­gent.

“When we met, the love she showed my fam­ily was just tremen­dous and she re­ally wanted to be part of it.”

A born-again Chris­tian, Mrs Matete Hlabi, from Harare, was a lead­ing fig­ure at the Foun­tain Church.

Around 700 peo­ple at­tended her fu­neral there last month.

Mr Hlabi, a for­mer ma­chin­ist, said: “She is re­ally missed at the church and she was a great in­flu­ence to all of the chil­dren there.

“As she knew all about health, she ed­u­cated them and used to teach them about how to keep healthy.

“It did blow me away how many peo­ple went to the fu­neral.”

Mrs Matete Hlabi, who qual­i­fied as a mid­wife in Africa, earned a de­gree at Can­ter­bury Christ Church Univer­sity af­ter mov­ing to Bri­tain.

Her 18-year-old son, Leroy, plays for Gilling­ham’s youth team as a striker while her daugh­ter, Lenuecha, 25, is study­ing at univer­sity.

“She was very proud of her chil­dren,” Mr Hlabi said.

“Mil­dred was a hard-work­ing per­son, very bub­bly, in­tel­li­gent and al­ways very will­ing to learn.

“She will be sorely missed by the whole com­mu­nity.”

Mr Hlabi thanked Gilling­ham Foot­ball Club for pay­ing for flights and help­ing with a visa ap­pli­ca­tion so Mrs Matete Hlabi’s mother could at­tend her fu­neral.

He also thanked the Foun­tain Church, KIMS Hospi­tal, Ladies of UK (LUK), Mrs Matete Hlabi’s friends she trained with in Africa and her aun­ties for their sup­port.

“She leaves a big void be­cause she was a pil­lar of strength...”

Mil­dred worked as a nurse at KIMS Hospi­tal and was a ded­i­cated mother to her daugh­ter Lenuecha and son Leroy

Mil­dred with mem­bers of the Foun­tain Church and, right, talk­ing to the con­gre­ga­tion

Mil­dred Matete Hlabi with her hus­band Moses

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