Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland mum dies on river cruise holiday

By Donna Deeney

Tributes have been paid to a Co Tyrone woman who tragically died while on holiday abroad.

Margaret White (64), from the village of Beragh, passed away from septicaemia two days after she and her husband William flew out from Dublin airport for a river cruise in Slovakia.

Mrs White, a mother of four daughters, began to feel unwell on the day she left Ireland and her condition deteriorated while she was on board the river cruise boat.

She was taken from the vessel and transferred to hospital in Slovakia but sadly passed away on Wednesday, April 10.

Her remains will be brought home later this morning while funeral arrangements continue to be made.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council member, Allan Rainey, who is Mr White's cousin, described Margaret as "one of life's real ladies".

The UUP councillor said: "This has been the most dreadful shock for all of us, so sudden and unexpected.

"William White is one of life's gentlemen and Margaret was one of life's ladies, the two were so well-matched.

"Where one of them was, so the other was too.

"They were totally devoted to each other and lived for their family.

"William and Margaret were married for 44 years and they were at a stage in their lives where their family had grown up and they were enjoying their time together.

"They loved to go on holiday and this was in fact one of the things William remarked to me when I went down to the house to see him after he returned from Slovakia.

"He told me how much he and Margaret loved getting away together and how, now that he had retired, it was one of the things they enjoyed most."

He continued: "This has been the most dreadful shock for us all and I don't think the realisation of it has sunk in yet. It is the saddest possible outcome to what should have been a lovely occasion for Margaret and William."

Mr Rainey told how Margaret had developed symptoms while on the plane flying out of Dublin, and had complained of a sore neck and shoulders but thought it was "just the discomfort of the flight".

He said: "They had progressed to the first leg of their holiday to Slovakia, and were on the river cruise, but her condition deteriorated so badly she was taken from the cruise boat and transferred to hospital in Slovakia.

"Margaret didn't recover and William had to ring home and deliver the sad news to the girls.

"As soon as the news came through that their mother was unwell, three of the daughters jumped in the car and went to Dublin airport to travel out to their mother and father.

"They were on the road when William had to call and tell them their mother had passed away."

One of the daughters turned to go back home while the other two flew out to be with their father.

They then accompanied their dad back home last Thursday.

They had to leave Margaret behind while a post-mortem was carried out which showed Margaret died from septicaemia.

Mr Rainey said it had been a difficult time for William, having to fly home without her.

"For a man who was so devoted to his wife to have to get on a plane and fly home without her is heartbreaking and it has been painful for him these past days, as anyone could imagine.

"This has been so very hard on the whole family and heartbreaking for a man who was so devoted to his wife to have to leave her behind in a strange country."

William and his daughters will travel to the airport today, to accompany Margaret's remains back home.

Belfast Telegraph

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