A WOMAN who believes she is the longest Covid-19 sufferer in the UK is now desperately pleading for Covid-19 doubters to take the deadly virus seriously.

Nic Kimberley, who grew up in Fernhill Heath near Worcester, says people "don't realise the longevity" of coronavirus, having suffered for nearly 10 months from it debilitating effects.

Miss Kimberley said: "I was going through a divorce so I was booked to go to St Lucia for eight nights over the Christmas period.

"On December 22 I arrived at Gatwick Airport, on that day seven flights came in from Wuhan.

"I stayed at the airport hotel that night, obviously the people who got off the flights were in the same shopping queues and the hotel. It's when I'm sure I caught it.

"I flew out and my first symptom, loss of taste, was Christmas Day.

"On the 27th, that was when I dropped in a pool of sweats, a horrendous temperature, cold chills, stabbing pains, kidney and bladder infection.

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"I spent the whole time (on holiday) in bed."

The 53-year-old said after returning to her home in Cheltenham, and seeing specialists, no one could work out what was wrong with her, until coronavirus and the Wuhan link emerged.

"Then no one believed me," she said.

"People said they thought it was swine flu. I didn't get my official confirmation it was Covid until June.

"I have been in and out of hospital ever since.

"It was found my various organs and glands had not been working properly for quite a while.

"I lose my eyesight for a few hours here and there, then it comes back blurry.

"It is flaring virus, it sits and hides inside the body before coming out.

"It is the pattern for long Covid people like myself, that they are seeing.

"I have never lost the crippling arthritic and joint pain. I have never lost the chest pain. I find it difficult to breathe.

"The longest period I've had is seven days when I start to feel almost back to normal.

"But the virus it teases you, the next day you can't stand up, and your ears have been bleeding.

"It is the most horrendous disease, it takes everything you have away from you.

"You are scared to go to sleep as you are worried you won't wake up in the morning.

"I have no idea if I will ever be fully better."

Miss Kimberley, who is self employed as a financial consultant but not worked since last December, said one of the most depressing things was the mental issues Covid-19 had caused.

"I used to be a BBC radio journalist, I used to be eloquent and now my short term memory is gone, I would be beaten at Scrabble by a two-year-old," she said.

Miss Kimberley said she had gained strength from the support groups that had started to pop up, including the Long Covid Support Group.

"It is the largest group, it has snowballed and we are supporting each other," she said.

"Young people think they are immune.

"I get so angry when I see the Covidiots - they need to know the reality."