A man who ended up in intensive care with coronavirus has praised the work of staff at the Royal Cornwall Hospital as he reminded people of the importance of staying at home.

Alan Nicholls, from Helston, had been ill for nine days at home when he was forced to call for an ambulance because he was struggling to breathe.

He ended up in ICU for almost a week

Alan, a member of Helston-Lizard Rotary Club, said: "I am sure many of you will have had some amazing experiences of the NHS over the years, but I feel compelled to give a small insight into my first stay in hospital at probably the worst ever time.

"Having spent six days in intensive care, Treliske, I can confidently say that they are ready to take on Covid-19.

"I had nine days at home feeling ill, at the time not knowing how ill I was, until I found it too difficult to breathe when having a shower.

"Then, from the first call to 111, when the ambulance was with me in record time, up to now, the NHS proved to me that they are the best professional, willing and able group of people you could wish to meet."

Falmouth Packet:

Nurses Laura (left) and Jess celebrate Alan coming out of intensive care

He said he was treated by "numerous" doctors, specialists and nurses, and through six days and nights he always had someone by his side - if not with medication then a listening, caring ear.

"When most people are worried about shopping or worried for their own personal circumstances, these people put on a mask and gown not knowing if it actually protects them and put themselves in harm's way," he said.

"During my time in Treliske I spoke with the paramedic and nurses who all expected to catch Covid-19 because they were so close to it, but still they did their job."

In a particularly fitting coincidence, Alan finally left intensive care on the exact date and time as the very first Clap for our Carers event on March 26 - something that will take place for a third time at 8pm tonight.

This evening this will also be followed immediately afterwards by a mass singing of Cornwall My Home all over the county and around the world.

Read more: Cornwall My Home song to follow NHS Clap for Carers

Alan hopes his story will bring home the importance of self-isolating and not leaving the house except in essential circumstances, particularly in the run up to this weekend's Easter bank holiday.

"NHS staff are already in short supply and hopefully it’s enough to reinforce the rules to anyone who needs it and stay at home.

"To all my friends in Cornwall and Helston please don’t think it’s not going to get this far down, it’s here," he said.

"If you still don’t understand ‘self isolation’ or why a safe distance should be kept, I can tell you that you do not want to catch this illness and if you are unfortunate enough to get it you will want there to be enough nurses to care for you."

He said he was talking to "anyone who will listen" about his own coronavirus experience, not for sympathy but to reinforce the message of "not putting yourself or more importantly anyone you come into contact with in danger."

He added: "You may be in a low risk group? You might only get mild flu symptoms?

"However, the person you pass it on to may be a higher risk or they could take it to someone who is; that someone could be 'your someone'."