Tribute to

Wayne Gruba OBE

It is with overwhelming sadness, as President of the DVA, I have to announce the passing of Mr Wayne Gruba OBE who has died from COVID-19 at the Royal London Hospital, London E1.

I had known Wayne for more than 27 years and he was a truly incredible human being. He has sadly paid the ultimate price to help those in desperate need.

Wayne’s unprecedented courage and compassion for others saw him continue to place himself in immense danger in his work on the NHS frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the initial outbreak he established and financed the DVA COVID-19 Response Ambulance Service.

Since the start of the pandemic Wayne had been instrumental in delivering medication and essential items to those that were impacted by COVID-19 who were self-isolating at home. He also collected patients from hospital who had been discharged and provided hand sanitizer, face masks and gloves to individuals and NHS facilities at his own expense. In addition he also delivered meals and other essential items to the homeless.

On Saturday the 30th October 2021 Wayne passed away at the Royal London Hospital due to COVID-19 after his unprecedented courage to help others in need during the pandemic.

Wayne founded the DVA in the aftermath of the London Docklands IRA terror attack on the 9th of February 1996 to provide support to all victims of terrorism and conflict. He had known many of the victims of the Docklands terror attack personally including those killed in the Newspaper Kiosk, Mr Inam Bashir and Mr John Jeffries.

For more than 25 years Wayne has dedicated his life to helping those in need and also started a number of humanitarian initiatives that have undoubtedly brought hope to humanity through the DVA. Wayne’s desire to challenge injustice was recognised with an OBE for his voluntary work in the Queen Birthday Honours in 2019. His humanity and compassion for others has enhanced the lives of countless people.

Throughout Wayne’s life he has made numerous contributions which have advanced humanity. And through his work at the DVA we will never fail to remember the following achievements which have enhanced the lives of those in desperate need:

In 2014, as a consequence of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s intention to initiate the Troubles Permanent Disablement Scheme for victims in Northern Ireland and exclude those other severely injured victims in mainland UK, Wayne campaigned valiantly against this discrimination as he believed that all people are equal regardless of the race, creed, religion, nationality and sexual orientation. Due to Wayne’s negotiations with HMG, Stormont and The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers, he was instrumental in securing this pension for those left severely disabled in the mainland UK. He also managed to ensure that those with mental health issues such as PTSD, who had initially not been included from the scheme, were included.

For nearly 17 years Wayne has campaigned vigorously for all the victims of Gaddafi IRA terrorism within the UK, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as a consequence of the appalling lack of equality that devalued the lives of every UK and Irish victim. He felt an awful injustice had accrued as victims of Gaddafi IRA terrorism who held US passports received substantial compensation whilst those in the mainland UK, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland received nothing. Wayne subsequently discovered that Gaddafi also paid substantial compensation to France and German victims of terrorism. He dedicated his life to challenge this injustice and secured an enquiry by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee in 2015 into this matter.

Wayne also helped orphans and severely disabled children in Thailand through his work at the Fr Ray Foundation. He organised and participated in a number of fundraising campaigns which managed to secure a new home for street children in Thailand.

In September 2014 Wayne campaigned for the release of hostage Aid Worker Mr Alan Henning who was being held by ISIS in Syria. He attempted to secure the release of Mr Henning by initiating with others a campaign to free Alan from ISIS. Sadly, Wayne efforts were not successful but he was commended for his actions as he brought all religions together pleading for Alan’s immediate release. In addition Wayne also worked with the Nigerian Government in April 2014 following the kidnapping of Chibok schoolchildren in Borno State, Nigeria.

Wayne founded Elite Support Service Ltd, a facilities management company in 2005. This innovating company has successfully improved working conditions and has raised standards within the industry. Wayne also publicly campaigned for the Living Wage Foundation to secure a high wage for all low paid workers. He will be greatly missed by his employees many of who have worked for him for long number of years.

On behalf of all at the DVA, as result of Wayne’s courageous actions in this awful pandemic and his efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we can confirm that we have made representation to the Prime Minister, parliamentarians and others for Wayne to be awarded a posthumous George Cross.

The DVA is completely devastated by the loss of Wayne as he was a truly remarkable individual that can never be replaced. However, we are committed to honouring Wayne’s legacy by continuing to carry on his work that has advanced humanity.

President Jonathan Ganesh