Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Climber 'wanted to make difference'

Una Finnegan, 25, was part of a group swept 1,000ft to their deaths while descending from a mountain in Glencoe

A climber from Northern Ireland who was killed in an avalanche in Scotland had a great zest for life and wanted to make a difference, her former schoolteacher said.

Una Finnegan, 25, from Coleraine in Co Londonderry, had been working in Edinburgh as a junior doctor.

She was part of a group swept 1,000ft to their deaths while descending from a mountain in Glencoe, in the Highlands, on Saturday afternoon.

Nicola Madden, vice-principal of Dalriada School in Ballymoney, said the precocious former pupil would be badly missed.

"She was bright, bubbly, talented, an amazing student, and academically she was brilliant, one of the top students," she said.

Ms Finnegan, who secured nine A*s and one A in her GCSEs in 2004, was involved in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme (hillwalking for young people) at the school, along with her twin sister, and that led to a love of the mountains and outdoors, Ms Madden added.

She was inspired to become a doctor after attending a humanitarian mission to Moldova in eastern Europe and meeting medics there, the senior teacher said.

She also sat on the interview panel which appointed Northern Ireland's first Children's Commissioner and displayed a taste for civic duty.

"She just had a great zest for life and did actually want to make a difference," Ms Madden said.

Ms Finnegan's father, Dr Owen Finnegan, was a well-respected heart and chest consultant at the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine. Following in her father's footsteps she studied medicine at Newcastle University and took her masters in anthropology of health and illness in Edinburgh, where she continued to live.

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