MORE than 100 members of staff at HMP Usk lined the streets in a guard of honour this afternoon to pay tribute to prison officer Rachael Yates, who died of coronavirus last month.

Hundreds of residents also joined the tribute on Maryport Street in the town, just a day after Ms Yates' mother Julie Jacques called for more to be done to protect key workers.

Ms Jacques followed the hearse as it passed HMP Usk at 3.30pm on Friday. Onlookers were silent as the hearse passed, before applauding.

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Ms Yates, 33, was a key member of the community in Usk for years. She worked at the town's main post office before spending 18 months at HMP Usk.

The hearse, with flowers saying "SIS", drove through the town centre before passing the prison. Ms Yates was then laid to rest at St Woolos Cemetery.

As she walked behind the hearse, Ms Jacques thanked prison staff and residents.

Before the service, Ms Jacques said: "She was, and still is, the best daughter.

"Everybody loved her, and now the light's been taken from us. She was my best friend, not just my daughter."

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Ms Jacques has criticised the amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) available to key workers.

"We must worry and care about our key workers, because these prison officers, along with many other people, never had any protection," she said on Thursday.

"And because of this I've lost my daughter at 33. Our light has been taken away."

Mark Fairhurst, from the Prison Officers' Association, said her death "highlights the risk that our brave prison officers face on a daily basis".

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Ms Yates was the fourth member of prison staff in the UK to die after catching Covid-19 when she died on April 21.

Five members of prison staff and 15 inmates have died of coronavirus across Britain.

The Ministry of Justice said there were "robust and flexible" plans in place to protect staff, with prisons working with public health and NHS services.

"Personal protective equipment is being provided to officers and all prisons have the soap and cleaning materials they need," a spokesman said.