A terminally ill woman who persuaded the Northern Ireland Executive to allow her to marry her partner during lockdown has died.
Samantha Byrne had planned her wedding to take place in May this year. However, the Covid-19 restrictions disrupted her plans.
She was able to marry her partner Frankie Byrne at their Co Down home after the first and deputy first ministers, Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill, agreed to allow marriage ceremonies if a person was terminally ill.
After she lobbied politicians, Samantha and Frankie tied the knot at the end of May.
Samantha was engaged when she was told her cancer was terminal and she had two years to live.
The pair got married at their home in Loughbrickland with two of their children by their side while other family members watched via video link.
A funeral notice said that Samantha, described as the darling wife of Frank, died on Sunday at the Southern Area Hospice.
Her funeral will take place on Wednesday.
Mourners have been asked not to send flowers, but instead to donate to the hospice.
The funeral notice said: “Very deeply regretted by the entire family circle.”
DUP leader Mrs Foster tweeted: “Very sorry to hear this sad news.
“I don’t think anyone could have failed to be touched by this couple. My deepest sympathy.”
Very sorry to hear this sad news. I donât think anyone could have failed to be touched by this couple. My deepest sympathy. https://t.co/rKuM4RUVEh— Arlene Foster #WeâllMeetAgain (@DUPleader) August 31, 2020
A florist who provided the flowers for Samantha’s wedding day posted an online tribute: “It is with the deepest sadness and heaviest heart, that I let you all know our beautiful bride Samantha has passed away.
“Many of you will remember her and Frankie’s plight to get married at the start of lockdown.
“Determination, will, pure love and devotion and an amazing family and friend support gave Samantha her wish.
“On behalf of us all we extend our deepest sympathy to Frankie and the family circle and all of Samantha’s vast army of friends. May she rest in peace.”