My friend Clara Malagon-Gonzalez, who has taken her own life at the age of 22, was a critical care nurse at Manchester Royal Infirmary and a kind, bright and effervescent person who brought light and joy into many people’s lives.
She had qualified as a nurse a year before her death, and was enormously proud to be working for the NHS. Not only was she hardworking; she was also courageous, as she showed when on duty during the Manchester Arena terrorist attack earlier this year.
Clara was born in Twickenham, south-west London, to Spanish parents, Maria Gonzalez, a maths teacher, and Ignacio Malagon, a consultant anaesthetist. However, with the exception of a happy year in Vancouver and some time in the Netherlands, she spent most of her childhood in Madrid, where, after her parents split up when she was four, she lived with her mother and her younger brother, Elias.
She attended the British Council school in Madrid, and as a child had a full life: as well as being a keen scout, she played the viola, took up ballet and flamenco dancing, and practised karate and rowing.
In 2013 she moved back to the UK to begin a degree in nursing at the University of Manchester. She approached life in Britain as she did everything – with endless enthusiasm and total commitment – as her love for Peep Show, Love Island, Kurupt FM, grime and UK garage attested. While studying at Manchester she juggled her nursing placement with rowing for the university and voluntary work for Citywise, a mentoring charity. And she never stopped being a generous friend; there was always time to laugh and dance.
In her third year of university Clara took up cycling. She was happiest on her bike and she spent many days riding through south Manchester to Tatton Park and Alderley Edge. Always the adventurer, in 2017 she cycled from coast to coast, spent a weekend cycling in Snowdonia and tried out the track at the Manchester velodrome.
Her friends will miss her laughter, her terrible attempt at a northern English accent, her generosity and her warmth.
She is survived by her parents, Elias and her grandparents.