Tributes have been paid to an NHS support worker who "loved her patients" and was a confidant to her friends and family.

Anita Esiri, 36, from Costessey, died on October 17 in her home.

Mrs Esiri had been a nursing assistant at the Julian Hospital, in Bowthorpe Road, which cares for older people with mental health problems including dementia and depression, for the past seven years.

Her cousin, Brown Odiyoma, 43, from the Heartsease area of Norwich, said: "Anita was a very caring person. She was somebody who make people feel happy and was the life of the party.

"She was someone who took pride in seeing other people happy. She graced everyone with her happiness.

"Her role as nursing assistant was more than a job to her. She loved the patients and her colleagues.

"She was a lovely person who would always stand up and support you. If you had a problem she was someone you could rest your head on in a time of pain.

"She was the light that went off too quick. To everyone, she will be missed - especially as a confidant to me."

Mrs Esiri, who was born in Nigeria, had worked in a care support role for more than 10 years and had previously done the job in Manchester.

But the NHS worker moved to Norwich around 2014 after marrying her construction worker husband Lucky Esiri, who is in his 40s.

They moved to East Anglia because Mr Esiri is from Norwich.

As well as her job, which she carried out during the Covid pandemic, Mrs Esiri was a dedicated churchgoer.

She had been a regular parishioner at the Redeemed Christian Church of God Holy Ghost Zone in Chatham Street, Norwich, near Anglia Square and the inner ring road.

As well as attending services she was part of the welfare department which handed out teas and coffees to fellow churchgoers.

Her cousin also described her as an outgoing person who loved parties and celebrations with friends and families.

Mr Odiyoma said a post-mortem examination showed Mrs Esiri had died from a blood clot.

Her funeral is happening on Friday, November 11 at Earlham Crematorium.