Tuesday 16 July 2019

Shock over the death of charity ambassador and model

Sadness: Alli MacDonnell was a mother to four children. Picture: Patrick O'Leary
Sadness: Alli MacDonnell was a mother to four children. Picture: Patrick O'Leary
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

Tributes have poured in for model Alli MacDonnell, who died suddenly at home in Dublin.

"Alli lived for her four kids, she was a brilliant mum, her kids were her world," recalled John Compton, a close friend of the 37-year-old and her former agent.

Mr Compton, who last spoke to the model on Sunday, said the Dubliner was "very involved with autism because both of her two youngest children were on the spectrum and she was very passionate about that subject and to help where she could".

Working as an ambassador for the Irish Autism Action charity, he said Alli had been in discussion about working on a TV project on that topic.

"There was loads going on for her in a positive way. There were a couple of shows in talks with her, one of them was about autism," he said.

"This is all so sad. Alli had her whole life in front of her, I just can't believe it, she was my best friend."

He recalled how the two met when Alli "walked into the agency years ago and asked 'can I join?' and I say 'Yes, you are stunning'".

"Alli was such a great model, always reliable and even when I closed the agency, we stayed friends. In fact, we became even better friends because there wasn't the work element involved.

"There's a gang of our friends here in my house today, we all want to be together. We are having our own little wake because we can't believe that she's gone."

A regular face on 'Ireland AM' where she modelled in fashion slots, Alli was mum to Sienna (2) Harry (9) and had two older teenage children.

Samantha Judge, CEO of Autism Ireland, paid tribute to Ms MacDonnell, saying she was a tireless campaigner for autism.

"Alli was an amazing mother, a beautiful woman, inside and out.

"She was a very strong voice for autism, as a mother and she was so supportive of her children and of the charity.

"She will be a great loss to us. Alli worked tirelessly to raise awareness of autism."

Valerie Roe, who runs a PR and events agency, recalled working with Alli. "She was a single mum, life was hard but she lived for her kids, that was my abiding memory," she said.

Irish Independent

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