The loved ones of a refugee who fled to Norfolk from his war-torn home country are hoping to fulfil his wish to be buried in the Congo. 

Gervais Kouloungou, 55, came to Norwich for a safer life following war in the Congo and Ivory Coast. 

A Congolese refugee and founder of a Norfolk charity, he died following a long struggle with the effects of Covid-19

Mr Kouloungou came to the city 20 years ago as a single parent with his young daughters due to war.  

As a Catholic, he attended the cathedral on Unthank Road and was a member of the church parish council representing minority voices. 

He also worked for the British Red Cross and taught at the University of East Anglia

Two years ago, he contracted Covid-19 while on a business trip to Paris and never recovered.  

It had a devastating impact on his body and neurological condition, and he remained in hospital with his children travelling regularly to France to visit him. He died on March 19. 

Norwich Evening News: Gervais Kouloungou has died aged 55

Mr Kouloungou leaves behind three daughters, all who live in Norwich.  

His daughter, Thesia, said: "He was a wonderful father, son, friend and kind soul, who spread love and happiness everywhere he went.  

“Always laughing and smiling, bringing people together and lifting people up by his happy demeanour and generosity of time and spirit.”   

He contributed significantly to the Norwich community, particularly to those from ethnic minority backgrounds.  

In 2012, with friend and colleague Pa Musa, he launched the voluntary organisation The Bridge Plus+ offering information and support to people from ethnic minority and migrant backgrounds. 

Writing in B-ME Voices magazine in 2014, he said, "I found the church to be one thing people will look for when they move to settle in a new place.  

“I think the church plays a very important role in people's lives and it is one thing that continues to play a traditional role in fostering understanding and tolerance."