Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland woman dies after sudden illness in Malaga

By Allan Preston

The husband of a Co Tyrone businesswoman has paid tribute to his "soulmate for a lifetime" after she died following a sudden illness in Spain.

Freda Wilson was a director of the building and civil engineering firm GF Wilson, based in Newtownstewart.

She had been on holiday to celebrate her 70th birthday in Malaga with her husband Bryan, also a manager with the company, when she suffered a bleed in the brain on September 15.

The mother-of-three was hospitalised in Malaga, but never recovered and died in hospital last Tuesday, October 2.

Mr Wilson remained at her bedside throughout, with their children also taking turns to fly out.

Originally from Ballybofey in Co Donegal, Mrs Wilson taught in a nearby school before meeting her husband.

Mr Wilson recalled: "When I met her I brought her across the border and we got married in 1972."

She soon became a key member in the family business, which has been running since 1947.

"She was my soulmate for a lifetime and was very interested in the church," Mr Wilson said.

"My son has two small children and she was always with them.

"She was an exceptional gardener. Every time you were looking for her you'd find her stuck in the garden somewhere."

Mr Wilson said she was "in perfect health" when they arrived in Malaga on Thursday, September 13.

"We went for a stroll on Friday, went to the pool on Saturday and she became unwell when we got back to the hotel."

Her condition never improved and she was unable to communicate.

"She got a bleed in the brain and it just became too complicated," Mr Wilson added.

"She was in a specialist unit and they did a good job and fought hard for her. They told me that her heart stopped six times on the Monday and her life was ebbing away.

"They felt her brain was simply too damaged and she died the next morning."

A protracted wait followed to bring Mrs Wilson home, with the family obliged to use three separate airlines by the time she arrived in Belfast on Sunday night.

Mr Wilson said it was a difficult wait for the family, but took comfort his wife had been enjoying her holiday before her illness.

The Rev Ivan Dinsmore said the congregation at Ardstraw Parish Church were shocked by her death.

"I spoke to her at the church door on the Sunday just before she went on holiday," he said.

"She was full of joy and excitement looking forward to her time away, a nice break, some sun and a relaxing holiday. I would never have guessed for a second that this would be the last time I would speak to her."

A family notice said she was a loving mother to Colyn, Trevor and Lorraine, a mother-in-law and devoted grandmother.

The funeral takes place today at 2pm in Ardstraw Parish Church in Newtownstewart, with interment at Ardstraw New Cemetery.

Belfast Telegraph

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