A Covid-19 survivor was given an emotional guard of honour by staff at North Devon District Hospital on Wednesday as he left intensive care.

Denis Mitchell was greeted by applause and cheers as he left the Tarka Intensive Therapy Unit – 76 days after he was admitted with Covid-19.

A video of Denis leaving intensive care showed healthcare staff lining up to show their support as he was moved to another ward to continue his recovery.

The 65-year-old said he felt ‘great’ to be out of intensive care.

“All the pipes are gone, I’m able to talk and feeling back towards normal,” said Denis.

Denis, who lives in Ilfracombe and works for a landscaping company, was taken to hospital back in March after coming down with flu-like symptoms following trips home to South Africa and his son’s stag party in Dublin.

He said: “I returned to work afterwards but started to feel flu-like symptoms so my partner drove me to the hospital.

“I remember being put on oxygen and cannot remember anything else until waking up in ICU five weeks later.”

Denis said he had been ‘determined’ to beat the virus, and paid tribute to all those who have helped during his time in hospital.

He said: “I am a pretty positive person, strong minded. I was determined the virus would not beat me but if it did so be it.

“All the nurses, doctors and staff on the ICU unit have just been amazing. Thank you for all the troubles you have gone to.

“You looked after me like a big family and I am missing you already. Also, a huge thank you to the NHS and North Devon District Hospital. It is a great hospital.”

“My partner, my family and friends. They have all just been amazing and kept me going.”

Suzanne Tracey, chief executive of Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “I feel exceptionally privileged and a little emotional to have been part of the NDHT team who clapped our ICU patient leaving after 76 days in the unit.

“Well done and thank you to all the NDHT team for making this possible. We wish Denis all the best while he continues to recover with us.”