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Woman spoke to dad just before freak accident

Tragic mother-of-three Lynda Collins spoke to her father, former lord mayor of Dublin Fergus O'Brien, just moments before a massive branch fell from a tree and killed her as she walked along Wellington Road in Dublin 4.

Dozens of people tried in vain to lift the huge bough off the 45-year-old ESB executive when the tragedy happened at about 5.30pm during high winds last Thursday.

But despite their efforts and those of the emergency services, the freak accident took the life of Mrs Collins, from Booterstown, Dublin, who worked as a chartered accountant in the ESB.

Her father, who is now 80, was minding her children at the time of the accident. Mrs Collins was on her way to collect them when the tragedy occurred.

"The next call her father got was to tell her that she had been involved in a serious accident," said a friend of the family yesterday.

Mrs Collins was due to celebrate her 46th birthday on Friday, but on Thursday the huge tree came crashing down as the city was battered by 100kmh winds.

"People immediately ran to the assistance of the lady trapped under the tree, they organised themselves arm to arm, women and men, and in a co-ordinated effort tried to take some of the weight of the trunk," said an eye-witness.

"The Fire Brigade was on scene very quickly and immediately set to work on freeing the trapped lady. The people who helped at the scene left and they will probably never know that the work they did was extraordinary, nothing could have changed the outcome of this very sad tragedy but their assistance should not go unacknowledged."

Mrs Collins was married to Richard Collins, a financial director with Superquinn, and the couple have three children, Georgia, 14, who attends Muckross Park School, Robert, 13, and Juliana, 7.

"She was a great mother. She really looked after her youngest -- she looked after them all -- but her youngest has special needs and she really looked after her very well," said her husband.

Her brother Tom said: "At five she was at her desk and at half five this happened as she walked home. It is just incredible. God help her."

Mrs Collins will be buried after a funeral mass this Tuesday at 11am in the Church of St John the Baptist, Blackrock, Co Dublin.

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