Thursday 17 January 2019

Bride-to-be dies after falling ill on flight home days after engagement

Majella Donoghue who died after flight home from South Africa
Majella Donoghue who died after flight home from South Africa
Majella and Barry toast their engagement in South Africa

A Bride-to-be died after falling ill on a flight home just days after getting officially engaged on a dream holiday.

Majella Donoghue (30) was returning from South Africa with her fiance Barry Doherty, when tragedy struck.

It is understood Ms Donoghue, described as "vivacious and kind-hearted," may have suffered an issue with her lungs during the trip.

She suddenly became seriously ill on the flight from Capetown to London Heathrow and was attended to by her fiance and flight staff.

When the plane touched down on Sunday last, an ambulance was waiting to rush her to hospital.

Sadly, Majella - from Belmullet Co Mayo - died later in hospital with grief-stricken Barry by her side as well as a family member who had rushed over from Ireland.

It is understood an autopsy has been carried out but the results are not yet available.

Her family are now awaiting the return of her remains from London at a time when they should be celebrating her wedding news.

In the past few days, people have been flocking in large numbers to the Donoghue household to sympathise with the family; her mother Mary, twin brother Stephen, brothers, Tommy, David and Brendan and her sister, Angela.


While in Capetown, Majella and Barry had visited her godparents and the couple became engaged.

Local priest Fr John Loftus said yesterday the community was numbed by the sudden death of the young woman, who was "pleasant, considerate and kind".

"Just to meet Majella would put you in good form," he added.

Fr Loftus explained that Ms Donoghue was always mindful of her family, travelling home frequently to visit and help her mother, Mary.

She would also help with the cleaning and decorative needs of their local Tirrane church.

"She had a social conscience," he explained. "Her good deeds spanned the world."

Majella worked as an advocacy volunteer for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children as well as for the Christina Noble Children's Foundation in Vietnam.

In her earlier career days she produced a documentary on Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club aimed at promoting Wolves and increasing their fan base.

Ms Donoghue had also worked for the Galway Advertiser newspaper, along with her fiance.

Its editor, Declan Varley, paid tribute to her yesterday and spoke of her popularity.


"Majella and Barry both worked with the Advertiser and were both very popular colleagues.

"Majella had a great air of positivity about her. For her, everything was about possibility and goodness.

"She lit up her workplace with her smile and her happiness," he said.

"News of her untimely death has placed a cloud of sadness over us all this week

"She lit up our lives for just a short while."

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