Monday 20 August 2018

'She'd beaten cancer and was happy' - tributes paid to tragic crash mum

Marcella Wilson, her son Seán (7) and her mother Mary Ann lost their lives in horror crash

Mary Ann Wilson and her daughter Marcella Wilson who were killed in a crash along with Marcella’s son Seán (right)
Mary Ann Wilson and her daughter Marcella Wilson who were killed in a crash along with Marcella’s son Seán (right)

Ian Begley

The woman who died in the fatal road traffic accident with her seven-year-old son and elderly mother was recovering from cancer.

The victims of the horrific accident were Marcella Wilson, who was in her 40s, along with her son Seán (7) and her mother Mary Ann, who was in her 70s.

It is understood that Marcella was recovering from a brain tumour and was said to be "doing great" before the horrific collision.

The Wilson family, from Cuan Oisri, Belmullet, Co Mayo, are believed to have been on their way to Galway for a hospital appointment for Mary Ann when the crash happened.

Marcella’s son Seán
Marcella’s son Seán

They are thought to have missed the bus in Castlebar and decided to drive to Claremorris to try and catch it there.

However, during the journey, the car they were travelling in collided with an articulated truck on the N17 near Claremorris at around 1pm on Monday.

Mary Ann Wilson and her daughter Marcella Wilson who were killed in a crash along with Marcella’s son Seán
Mary Ann Wilson and her daughter Marcella Wilson who were killed in a crash along with Marcella’s son Seán

Adding to the tragedy, the mum left behind three other children - Anthony (9), Kelly (14) and Amy (16).

They are staying in the nearby town of Binghamstown with their grandfather, who lost his wife Mary Ann in the crash.

A garda at the scene of the tragedy in which three generations of the Wilson family died. Photo: Mark Condren
A garda at the scene of the tragedy in which three generations of the Wilson family died. Photo: Mark Condren

Neighbour and close friend Teresa Whelan told the Irish Independent that Marcella was one of the strongest people she had ever known.

"Marcella had a tumour, but it never let her get in the way of looking after her kids. She was recovering from cancer and was happy out - she loved and lived for her children.

"The strength of the woman was remarkable - she was an inspiration," she said.

Ms Whelan fondly recalled how Sean, a senior infant at Belmullet National School, would wave goodbye to her every morning as she drove his two sisters to school.

"Each morning, I would drive Kelly and Amy to school with my daughter and would always see Sean waving goodbye to us from the window. He was such a sweet little boy and a great character."

Ms Whelan said the night before the tragedy, nine-year-old Anthony told her how much he was looking forward to the following day.

"He was with me on Sunday night and said he couldn't wait until the next day. I asked him 'what's so good about tomorrow?'

"He replied: 'Well I have to go to school - I don't really like that - but I get to go to football and then to your house. It's going to be a really good day'."

When Anthony found out about the death of his mother, grandmother and brother, he asked "Why did it have to happen today?"

Brave

"He just couldn't process what happened. He's such a brave little guy," said Ms Whelan.

Marcella's home, which was said to be always full of activity, was silent the morning after the tragedy. Ms Whelan said it was a "heartbreaking sight".

"The house is usually full of life in the morning with the children getting ready for school. I remember asking her how on earth she manages four kids by herself.

"She replied: 'It's chaos, Teresa, but I love it'. This morning no one was at the house, there was no activity at all… It was just so upsetting," she said.

The close friend of Marcella added that the whole community is now coming together for the family.

"We live in a great community and will make sure that the family will be taken care of. I'm meeting some of my friends later on and we're going to bring some food back to the house.

"I don't think many people have processed the news yet, but I know that nothing will ever be the same for us.

"You can go out someday and never come home, but you never expect that it's going to happen to someone you know," she said.

It is understood that the funeral for the three generations of the same family will take place on Friday at St Joseph's Church, Binghamstown.

Locals in the area are still reeling from the tragic events of last March, when Rescue 116 crashed into Blackrock Island off the coast of Co Mayo, killing all four of its crew members.

Irish Independent

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