On top of the world: Avalanche victim Una on Ben Nevis
Published 25/01/2013 | 00:00
With a beaming smile as she poses at the top of Ben Nevis, Una Finnegan’s zest for life is abundantly clear.
This picture, released by the young doctor’s family last night, shows Una on the peak of Britain’s highest mountain during a recent climbing trip with her friends.
It was during a similar break to indulge in her favourite outdoor activity that her life was cruelly cut short in an avalanche in the Highlands of Scotland.
This Saturday — one week on from the tragedy — Una (25) will be laid to rest in her home town of Coleraine.
Her parents Owen, a retired senior doctor at the Causeway Hospital, and Mary, a well-known GP in the area, returned to Northern Ireland from Scotland yesterday as they prepared for the saddest of homecomings.
In a statement, the Finnegan family paid tribute to Una.
“Una was a wonderful, outgoing and loving person,” read the statement. “We are devastated by her death, but comforted by the knowledge that she was doing what she loved most. At this time our thoughts and prayers are for their friend, the sixth member of the group, who is still in hospital.
“We would be grateful for the privacy to grieve for Una.”
A family spokesperson said last night that Una’s funeral is expected to be held at St Malachy's Church in Coleraine.
Una and three of her close friends — Christopher Bell (24), Tom Chesters (28), and his girlfriend Rachel Majumdar (29), who was also a doctor — were killed when tons of snow and ice carried them down the notorious Bidean Nam Bian mountain.
One of two survivors from the group of six climbers caught up in the avalanche remains in a critical condition in hospital.
One man survived when he leapt from the moving ice and snow and managed to sink his ice pick into firmer ground and hang on for his life as the others were swept away.
All of those who died were described as bright and talented young people who were determined to make a difference in the world.