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Donations flood in to charity page of young lawyer who died during holiday

By Deborah McAleese

Published 15/09/2016

Mourned: Shona Killen
Mourned: Shona Killen

A fundraising page set up by barrister Shona Killen who died suddenly while on holiday in Spain has raised more than £2,000 in 24 hours.

The 27-year-old was due to take part in a sponsored walk at Stormont on Saturday to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Society.

However, Shona, from Cloughey in Co Down, died on Monday after taking ill while in the Costa del Sol with her boyfriend Simon Brown.

Just a few hours after news of her death, donations to Shona's JustGiving sponsorship page began to flood in, reaching more than £2,000 by lunchtime yesterday - 10 times her £200 target.

Several of the young lawyer's friends and colleagues now intend to complete the walk in her memory.

Shona became ill in the early hours of Monday. Despite desperate attempts by doctors and paramedics she died in a Spanish hospital an hour after the alarm was raised.

Her older brother Michael (37) flew out to Spain to retrieve his sister's body.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph on Tuesday, her second brother Eamon (34) said the family were devastated by her death.

"We are a very tight-knit family. She was the one baby girl. Shona was always the favourite. My mum in particular has taken it so hard. We were all so close," said Eamon.

The family are awaiting the results of a post-mortem to find out the cause of death.

Shona studied law at Queen's University. She began practising as a barrister in 2011, specialising in criminal and family law and special injury.

According to her Bar of Northern Ireland profile, the main objective in her line of work was "client care".

The Bar of Northern Ireland described Shona as a "well-known and highly respected young barrister".

In its statement the Bar added: "We would like to express our deepest condolences to her friends and family and we place them in our thoughts and prayers.

"We would also reassure them that the Bar will do all it can to support them during this most difficult time. Rest in Peace xx."

One of Shona's colleagues, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Belfast Telegraph: "The death has had a real impact at the Bar. It's only a small community of 600 members or so and you get to know people really well. And this news, you can tell, it has had a real impact on us all. There is like a shadow cast over the Bar, everyone is in small circles talking about Shona and how they will remember her.

"It gets you very hard; we are all shocked, she will be terribly missed."

Many of those donating to Shona's cause offered their condolences to her family.

One donor wrote: "For Shona. Her bubbly personality will be missed around Ards/Downpatrick courts. Thoughts are with her family xx."

The Belfast Memory Walk is at the Stormont Estate this Saturday. Anyone wishing to contribute can do so on Shona's JustGiving page, www.justgiving.com/fundraising/shonakillen1989

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