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HEARTBREAKING | Ballymena community shocked after death of Andreea Maftei

Andreea Maftei

Last night, Thursday 13 August, a brokenhearted Romanian father shared his devastating news on social media:

“This is Andreea, our daughter, who today 13 August, around 11pm, passed among the angels, killed by this miserable virus that has killed hundreds of thousands of people. At only 32 years old she left us far away from the country, in Ireland on a hospital bed in the Ballymena.”

Hundreds of miles away in Romania, Mircea Serban received the news that no father wants ever to hear, that his daughter, who left her home country in hopes of a better life in Northern Ireland, had died.

Well-known in the Ballymena community, Andreea worked in the popular Nobel Cafe in the town.

A heartbroken family friend told Love Ballymena of how Andreea had recently received a positive test result for COVID-19 and was being treated for the virus.

Earlier this week the Nobel Cafe revealed in a statement that a staff member had tested positive for the virus, and the business was temporarily closing for a deep clean.

Writing on social media on Tuesday (11 August), Nobel Cafe, stated:

"Nobel Café has been notified that a member of our team who does not deal with customers has tested positive for Covid-19. 

"This member of staff is currently self- isolating and hasn’t been in work.

"As a precaution all staff have undergone testing today, August 11, 2020.

"Because the health and safety of you our loyal customers, our fantastic staff and our beloved Ballymena community are our absolute priority, we have taken the precaution of closing our restaurant for 24 hours to enable a deep clean to be undertaken.

"We want to reassure you that we will continue to apply the very highest standards of hygiene that have become synonymous with the Nobel name and to follow all government guidance in order to protect and keep everyone safe.

"This temporary closure is a precautionary measure which goes further than the advice we have received but we value your health more than the business. 

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their understanding.”

As news spread among the Ballymena community late on Thursday night, flowers and candles were left outside the cafe on Church Street and a poignant message was placed on the wall of the premises where someone had said:

”We’ll never forget you, Andreea!”

Nobel Cafe posted a statement on Friday Mornington social media, sharing their shock and heartbreak at losing a valued colleague and loved friend.

“The friends and family at Nobel Cafe are well and truly devastated at the passing of our dear friend and colleague Andrea Maftei. Our hearts go out to Andrea’s loving husband Ovidiu, her parents, grandparents and family circle. Andrea worked with us for twelve fantastic years, not only was she a trusted employee but a very loyal friend. We are astounded at the news and utterly heartbroken.

“The Environmental Health, The Public Health Agency and NIC Contract Tracing have both concluded that this is a community based outbreak and not through our food premise.

“Unfortunately, Andrea has been taken from us under horrendous circumstances. We have seeked legal advice and we will not tolerate disrespect or online abuse towards this situation. We ask you to be kind as we grieve the loss of Andrea and what she meant to us. This is the second member of staff we have lost during this horrendous pandemic, as you all know Roisin passed away with Cancer in June. We know Roisin will be waiting for Andrea and we ask her to look after her.

The statement continued: “We are completely and utterly heart broken 💕 We will miss you forever. We can’t put it into words. Out of respect for Andrea and the shock this has caused for our staff we will closed today and tomorrow. Take care everyone, Love Nobel x”

Indeed, the thoughts and prayers of the Ballymena community are with the family and friends of Andreea at this immensely sad time.