Belfast Telegraph

Una Finnegan died doing what she loved, say family of Northern Ireland woman killed in avalanche

By Chris Kilpatrick

The grief-stricken family of the young Northern Ireland doctor killed in an avalanche in Scotland have told of their devastation at the loss of a “wonderful, outgoing and loving person”.

Una Finnegan's family said they are drawing comfort from the knowledge she was involved in an activity she loved when her life was cut short.

The 25-year-old died along with three of her friends when they were swept 1,000ft down a mountain in Glencoe on Saturday.

Una's parents ,Owen and Mary, travelled to Scotland on Monday and they were yesterday preparing to bring their daughter's body home.

While Una's family were too distressed to speak to the Belfast Telegraph last night, they released a statement expressing their adoration for the popular climbing enthusiast and promising young doctor.

“Una was a wonderful, outgoing and loving person,” read the Finnegan family's statement.

“We are devastated by her death, but comforted by the knowledge that she was doing what she loved most, climbing with good friends in the hills.

“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.”

Funeral arrangements are yet to be finalised but it is understood the service will be held at St Malachy’s Church in Coleraine, the family’s hometown.

‘She was a wonderful, |loving person’

Parish priest, Fr Gregory Cormican, has been liaising with the family since the tragedy but declined to comment yesterday, saying he was adhering to their request for privacy.

Una and three friends — Christopher Bell (24), Tom Chesters (28), and his girlfriend Rachel Majumdar (29) — were killed when tons of snow and ice carried them down the notorious Bidean Nam Bian mountain.

A friend of all of those involved, Sam Morris, said: “Some of the comfort we have drawn is that they had been together to the end.”

He said of the four victims: “All of them had a bright future and were committed to making a difference. It’s such a loss.”

One of two survivors from the group of six climbers caught up in the avalanche remains in a critical condition in hospital.

Una was a former pupil of Dalriada School in Ballymoney before moving to Scotland to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh.

During her five-year degree course she took a year out to complete a Masters degree in anthropology.

Dr Becky Marsland, one of Una’s lecturers, said she had hoped to follow in the footsteps of her mother by becoming a GP.

Her father Owen was a respected doctor at the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine prior to his retirement.

Staff and pupils at Dalriada were yesterday still trying to come to terms with the death of the “bright and capable” former pupil.

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