Chylee, 9, puts frontline strain into words

  • Video by Kyle McNeil

  • Expressing thanks: Chylee Dill’s letter to her father, Ronae Burgess, thanks him for his work as a doctor’s assistant and cleaner at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Expressing thanks: Chylee Dill’s letter to her father, Ronae Burgess, thanks him for his work as a doctor’s assistant and cleaner at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

  • Letter to daddy: Chylee Dill’s letter to her hospital worker father, Ronae Burgess. The nine-year old has not seen her healthcare staff dad for two weeks and penned a heart-warming letter, thanking him for his selfless devotion to duty (Image supplied)

    Letter to daddy: Chylee Dill’s letter to her hospital worker father, Ronae Burgess. The nine-year old has not seen her healthcare staff dad for two weeks and penned a heart-warming letter, thanking him for his selfless devotion to duty (Image supplied)


A nine-year-old girl who has not seen her healthcare worker dad for two weeks has written a heart-warming letter to him to thank him for his selfless devotion to duty.

Chylee Dill said she missed her father, Ronae Burgess, very much — but that she was “happy and proud” to tell him how much she appreciated his work.

The East End Primary School pupil from St George’s said that the letter thanked her father, a surgical assistant and part-time hospital cleaner at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, for helping patients to recover and for keeping the interiors spick and span.

She wrote: “Thank you for always having a smile on your face.

“Thank you for working while everyone is at home.”

Chylee sent a picture of the letter to her father on social media.

Mr Burgess, admitted he was “caught off guard” by the letter.

He said: “She likes to write little notes to me if it’s my birthday or Christmas, but this was different.

“It was so detailed and it hit me straight in the heart.”

He added: “It was very touching — I didn’t even expect that, so the impact was great.

“She knows where I work and what I do, and she knows that sometimes I cannot see her, because of work. But it was very warming to see the impact of how she views me and what I do.”

Mr Burgess is looking forward to being able to see his daughter when life got back to normal.

He said: “I want her to know that I love her and miss her, just as much as she loves and misses me.

“I just want to be the best dad possible and do whatever it takes to be that.”

Mr Burgess, 45, added that he and Chylee had their first phone conversation in two weeks on Monday — and admitted both broke down in tears.

He added: “I told her ‘whenever you’re free you can video call me’ and she video called me right away.

“We were just talking and it was all going fine, but then she broke down and cried.

“That made me so weak because I’m very sensitive — when she’s down, I’m down — so it just got me.”

Chylee said that the letter was part of a school assignment to thank essential workers.

Ciera, Chylee’s mother, added: “I explained to her what an essential worker was and that’s when she said ‘oh, I could write it to my daddy’.”

She said that before the Covid-19 crisis Mr Burgess saw their daughter up to five times a week despite his long hours and the couple’s separation.

But Ms Dill added that, because of his new work demands, Mr Burgess had not seen Chylee since the day before the first two-week shelter-in-place regulations started.

She said: “This can be a lot on children because they don’t entirely understand what’s going on.”

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Published Apr 15, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Apr 15, 2020 at 9:21 am)

Chylee, 9, puts frontline strain into words

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