'I was aware of the risks -- John went to Everest with my blessing'
SHE knew the risks but he went with her full blessing.
The grieving wife of an Irish mountaineer who died near the summit of Everest last weekend -- without getting to meet his newborn daughter -- has spoken of her unwavering support for his adventuring.
John Delaney (41) died just 50 metres from the summit. His body is unlikely to ever be recovered from the mountain.
Yesterday, hundreds of mourners attended a memorial mass in Ballinakill, Co Laois.
They were led by his wife Orla -- who gave birth to a baby girl, Hope, just three days before her husband died -- and their other children Casper (3) and Alexander (2).
"John was my husband, my hero, my best friend, the man I adore," she said.
"John led a rich, varied successful life, a highly intelligent man, he dedicated himself wholly and completely to every task," she said.
"John and I were both very much aware of the risks involved. This was not a decision John made alone or took lightly -- he went with my full blessing," Mrs Delaney told the gathering.
Although some might question his decision to climb the mountain, Mrs Delaney said his passion drove him.
"I can appreciate many people asking why, but only those who are truly passionate about something can fully understand John's reasons," she said.
"John's greatest passion was his family.
"He was devoted to me and our boys. We all expected John to be home for the birth of our baby but it turned out she wasn't prepared to wait. She truly is John's daughter," she added.
Mrs Delaney said her husband's spirit lived on through his children.
"He very much loved his three adoring children, Casper, Alexander and baby Hope. His spirit is very alive in all three."
Pat Falvey, who twice conquered Everest, paid tribute to Mr Delaney following the mass.
"She (Everest) has now actually John cradled in her arms right at the top of the world, as close as you can get to heaven," he said.
The service was also attended by Mr Delaney's brother Chris, sister Geraldine and mother Marcella (Massey).
Local postmaster and family friend Aidan Kennedy said he was devastated to learn of Mr Delaney's death.
"I understand he couldn't go up the side that he intended to go and had to stay because the wind was too strong," Mr Kennedy said.
Mrs Delaney thanked those who tried to resuscitate Mr Delaney. She also thanked the family of the late Irish mountaineer Ger McDonald for their support. Mr McDonald died while trying to rescue climbers on K2 in 2008.