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Friend of mum who died in sleep on flight 'overwhelmed with gratitude' as GoFundMe passes £20,000

Daisy Phillipson

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Friend of mum who died in sleep on flight 'overwhelmed with gratitude' as GoFundMe passes £20,000

Featured Image Credit: GoFundMe

The friend of a mum who died in her sleep on a flight to the UK has expressed ‘overwhelming gratitude’ to people who donated to a GoFundMe campaign.

Following the tragic news of Helen Rhodes’ passing, Jayne Jeje set up the crowdfunding page in order to raise money to help the family, who had been travelling back from Hong Kong with Helen when she died. 

An original goal of £20,000 has been surpassed, and is over £23,000 at the time of writing - a figure that continues to rise at rapid speed. 

In response, the family friend wrote: “To all who have known Helen or been touched by her story, thank you for the kind messages and support. We are overwhelmed with gratitude.”

Helen Rhodes sadly died in her sleep on a flight with her family. Credit: ScotStock/Alamy Stock Photo
Helen Rhodes sadly died in her sleep on a flight with her family. Credit: ScotStock/Alamy Stock Photo

She later added: “I know in my heart that this blessing for the Rhodeses would sit well with Helen. She wouldn’t want her family to have more things to worry about. 

“This is why I created this fundraiser - to help, when I feel utterly helpless to do anything more impactful to ease their grief. So, I would like to say thank you again.”

Helen had been returning to the UK with her husband Simon and their two children Nathan and Emma to start a new chapter, having lived in Hong Kong for 15 years.

But a few hours into the flight on Friday (5 August), the midwife was found unresponsive and could not be resuscitated.

"This all unfolded in front of her children," said Jayne. "For the remaining eight hours of the flight, Helen lay in a breathless sleep in her seat.

"Although this was extremely traumatising to the family, they all had time to say what they needed to say to her."

Credit: GoFundMe
Credit: GoFundMe

After landing in Frankfurt, Germany, Helen's body remained there, while her family had to fly on to the UK.

Jayne continued: "Needless to mention, they are devastated. This loss is unimaginable. Helen was a devoted wife and mother. She was the glue that held her family together."

She was described as 'one of a kind, a gem', and 'the pulse of her community in Tung Chung', where she was an early member of a tight-knit mums support group. 

She also ran a business making bespoke bows and accessories.

The money raised on GoFundMe will be used for any unexpected costs such as Helen’s funeral, support for the children as Simon grieves the loss of his wife, and creating a legacy in honour of the late midwife. 

Those who’d like to donate can do so here

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677 

Topics: UK News, News

Daisy Phillipson
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