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She had a zest for life and loved to travel... son pays tribute to mother who died after falling over on holiday

By Joanne Sweeney

Published 05/12/2015

Reid and Peter Jack with their beloved mother Essie who died while holidaying in Tenerife
Reid and Peter Jack with their beloved mother Essie who died while holidaying in Tenerife

A dream holiday in the sun turned into a nightmare after a Northern Ireland pensioner died after tripping over.

Tributes have been paid to Esther 'Essie' Jack (88), described by her family as an active woman who loved life.

Mrs Jack died during the holiday in Tenerife with two of her best friends.

What should have been a regular relaxing trip in the winter sun turned into a tragedy when she suffered a serious head injury and a broken collarbone as she returned to her hotel one evening.

Just 24 hours after arriving, Mrs Jack, who was known to her family and friends as Essie, fell on steps after a visit to the pharmacy on November 14.

She was only a short distance from her hotel, the Iberostar in Los Dalias when she tripped.

It is understood that while there was a ramp at the spot, there was no hand rail.

She was accompanied by two of her best friends, Sylvia Smith and Dorothy Chandler, both women in their 70s.

Due to the seriousness of her injuries, Mrs Jack's condition deteriorated and she lost consciousness.

She died after spending a week on a life support machine in hospital at Los Cristianos.

Her remains were flown back to Northern Ireland last night ahead of her funeral service and burial today.

The grandmother of four would have celebrated her 89th birthday tomorrow.

Peter Jack, one of her two sons, told the Belfast Telegraph: "The last two weeks have been very hard on myself and my brother Reid and our families and my mother's two good friends Sylvia Smith and Dorothy Chandler who were on holiday with her.

"They left to go on holiday on November 13 and the fall happened the very next day.

"Mrs Smith must have been very traumatised by witnessing the fall, but we cannot thank her and Mrs Chandler enough for everything they did to help our mother and for being with her in hospital until we were able to fly out to be with her."

Mr Jack said that his mother, the widow of former judge Arthur Jack, had visited the island many times before and had previously stayed at the hotel.

"My mother was an extremely active and independent woman who enjoyed several holidays a year abroad," he added.

"Travel was something she really enjoyed in her later years, and we take some small comfort that she died while she was doing something she loved.

"We cannot thank enough the British Consulate in Tenerife for their help, as well as the interpreter who helped us understand the hospital medical team."

Mr Jack added: "My mother was the kind of woman who loved life and travel, her church and her golf.

"She had a wide circle of friends and interests and will be greatly missed by our whole family."

Mrs Jack left Ballymena for Coleraine more than 20 years ago after her husband died.

She was a member of Castlerock Golf Club, as well as a member of the 3UA bridge club, which played at the Agherton Bowling Club and enjoyed staying at her caravan at Castlerock.

Mrs Jack was also an active and regular member of Terrace Row Presbyterian Church in Coleraine.

Its minister, Rev Andrew Brown, said: "Mrs Jack was a woman full of life and she enjoyed her life to the full. She was a highly respected and liked member of our congregation and was actively involved in the church's ladies activities."

A thanksgiving service will be held at the church today from noon, followed by a reception at Castlerock Golf Club.

Belfast Telegraph

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