A hospice has paid tribute to a ‘compassionate’ counsellor who died after a house explosion in Bury last week.
Hazel Wilcock, 61, lost her life in the tragedy on East View in Summerseat after her mid-terraced house was reduced to rubble.
Emergency services rushed to the quiet residential village shortly after 9.20pm on Wednesday night.
Sadly, the body of Ms Wilcock was found inside the property, as fire crews searched the wreackage.
Hazel, who was described by friends as a ‘beautiful soul inside and out’ had worked as a senior counsellor at St Ann’s Hospice.
She had worked in the Patient and Family Support Team for four years.
Following the news of her death, the Greater Manchester based hospice paid tribute to the ‘much-loved’ counsellor.
Chief executive Rachel McMillan said: “Everyone at the hospice is extremely shocked and saddened by the tragic news of Hazel’s death, and our thoughts are with her family and loved ones.
“Hazel had been part of the St Ann’s team for four years as a senior counsellor in our Patient and Family Support Team, working hard to support the people we care for and those closest to them.
“She was a much-loved member of the hospice family, always compassionate, and always focused on ensuring the very best care for our patients.”
Hazel had been working on a project to develop psychological support services during the pandemic, particularly helping to support people experiencing grief, at the time of her death.
“It was extremely important to her that she was still able to help despite all of the restrictions that Covid-19 has brought, and our patients and those closest to them were always at the heart of everything she did,” Ms McMillan added.
“She cared for so many local people, and she will be hugely missed by all of us.”
The cause of the explosion and subsequent house collapse is still being investigated by police and Greater Manchester Fire Service.
Five other people were injured in the blast, including a woman and a child, who were taken to hospital with minor injuries.
Neighbour, June Winsche, said she had met Hazel through the village committee and from walking their dogs together.
“She had lots of friends and loved entertaining and I’d always be invited over for meals,” June told the Manchester Evening News .
“She cared for my dogs when I was away and even took in my son when we had to temporarily move out of our home when we had renovations done.
“Hazel was just so kind. We went on retreats together and she took time with me when I was going through a very bad time.
“She was a counsellor so had amazing listening skills and I am aware she helped a lot more people.
“She was very inspirational and pushed me to start my own business because she believed in me so much.”
Close friend, Amanda Webber, wrote on Facebook: “A beautiful soul inside and out.
“It was a pleasure to have known you and to have worked for you, may you Rest in eternal peace and your smile shine down on us all.
“You shall be sadly missed by all who knew you.R.I.P Hazel xx.”
Andrea Procter wrote: “Hazel you were such an inspiration and fantastic friend.
“Devastating news. So sad.”
A number of floral tributes have been left at the scene of the tragedy.
An investigation into the cause of the explosion is ongoing.
A fundraiser has also been launched to support those affected by the explosion, you can donate here.