Tuesday 17 October 2017

'We just thought it was a bug' - Grieving sons fundraise for mother's funeral after she died suddenly on holiday in Spain

Violet O'Neill passed away in Santa Ponsa
Violet O'Neill passed away in Santa Ponsa

Kathy Armstrong

TWO grieving sons are fundraising to cover their mother's funeral costs after she died unexpectedly on holiday last month.

Violet O'Neill (51) was enjoying a holiday in Santa Ponsa with friends when she became unwell and passed away on May 23.

Violet was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 but had since got the all-clear. A preliminary coroner's report suggests that Ms O'Neill died when a hernia the size of an orange - which she was waiting to have removed - burst.

Ms O'Neill had no savings or insurance and although The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust flew her home on Saturday and paid for her coffin her sons Joe and Craig are struggling to cover her funeral costs.

Joe (28) told Independent.ie: "Some of her friends had clubbed together to bring her on holiday to give her a break.

"She was sick for the week that she was in Santa Ponsa though but we just thought it was a bug but on the day she died she rang me and I could tell in her voice something was seriously wrong.

Joe O'Neill
Joe O'Neill

"At five o'clock she passed away."

Joe was due to start a job the day his mother died and Craig is unemployed as he has special needs. Joe said that money is tight so they are appealing for donations.

Joe, who is from Bishopstown in Cork, said: "The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust looked after everything from the Spain side of things, they were very helpful.

"I've heard it can cost up to €30,000 to repatriate a body.

Craig O'Neill's mother passed away suddenly on May 23
Craig O'Neill's mother passed away suddenly on May 23

"They also supplied the coffin, it's divine, we were delighted.

"The work The Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust does is phenomenal.

"I set up the Go Fund Me because I want to get some of that money back to Kevin Bell to help the next person who might need it.

"It's also to help with the funeral costs, she had no insurance.

"The biggest cost is bringing her from Dublin to Cork, we're just having the funeral, we're not doing a rosary or removal or anything.

"Then she's being cremated, it's all we could afford, we had to cut everything down to one day."

He also paid tribute to his mother and spoke of how many lives she touched.

He said: "She was a character, she could make anyone laugh and was there for everyone, she was like a mother figure to so many people.

"She'd always sing and have her own little party and entertain everyone.

"Everyone had time for her, the amount of messages we've got from people who knew her is unreal."

For more information or to donate, please visit here.

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