Tributes paid to avalanche death medic

Published Monday, 21 January 2013
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Tributes have been paid to the young doctor from Coleraine, who was killed in an avalanche in Scotland.

Tributes paid to avalanche death medic
Una Rachel Finnegan was killed in an avalanche in the Scottish Highlands (© PA)

Una Finnegan, 25, had been working in Edinburgh as a junior doctor.

She was part of a group that got into difficulty while descending from a mountain in Glencoe, in the Highlands, on Saturday afternoon.

A sheet of snow gave way beneath the experienced hillwalkers, pushing them 1,000ft to the bottom of the mountain.

Una and three others were found dead by rescue teams four hours after the alarm was raised on Bidean Nam Bian.

Two other victims have been named as 24-year-old Christopher William Bell from Blackpool, a PhD student living in Oban, and Tom Chesters, 28, a PhD candidate living in Leeds.

The relatives of the fourth victim have asked that her name not be released until extended family can be informed.

A 24-year-old woman, from the Durham area, remains in a critical condition in hospital while one man survived.

Nicola Madden, vice-principal of Dalriada School in Ballymoney, said Una had a great zest for life, wanted to make a difference, and would be badly missed.

She was bright, bubbly, talented, an amazing student, and academically she was brilliant, one of the top students.

Nicola Madden

Ms Madden said the young woman was inspired to become a doctor after attending a humanitarian mission to Moldova in eastern Europe and meeting medics there.

Una had a twin sister as well as other siblings. Her father Dr Owen Finnegan was a well-respected heart and chest consultant at the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine.

After excelling in her A Level exams, she went on to study medicine at Newcastle University and took her masters in anthropology of health and illness in Edinburgh.

She had a deep interest in politics as well as outdoor life.

SDLP East Derry MLA John Dallat, who knows Una's father, said that the grief expressed by the Finnegan family is shared by the whole community.

"No family has contributed more to the health and wellbeing of so many people and to hear that they have suffered the greatest loss of all, the tragic death of their beautiful daughter, so talented and with so much to offer to the medical profession in the future," he said.

"We must hope the prayers and widespread support that the Finnegan family will receive over the very difficult days ahead will somehow bring some degree of comfort to them.

"On behalf of our councillors and myself I wish to offer our deepest sympathy."

David McClarty, Independent Stormont MLA for the Coleraine area, also knows the victim's father.

"This is just such a tragedy to be visited upon this family," he said.

© UTV News
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1 Comments
William in County Antrim wrote (649 days ago):
Northern Ireland has lost one of its brightest and best; what a beautiful person - snatched away as she stood at the threshold of a blossoming medical career.
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