Mum dies in sleep in front of children and husband on flight back to UK
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A mum died in her sleep on a flight to the UK, as her husband and children watched on.
Helen Rhodes was returning to the UK with her family 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," a GoFundMe set up by friend Jayne Jeje reads.
"For the remaining 8 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."
After landing in Frankfurt, Germany, Helen's body remained there, while husband Simon and their two young children, Nathan and Emma, had to fly on to the UK.
The fundraiser continues: "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."
Helen was described by friend Jayne 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 flight to the UK was going to enable Helen to see her family for the first time since the pandemic began.
The fundraiser states that all funds will go directly to the family, and the money will be used as follows:
- Help with any unexpected expenses for Helen’s Funeral
- Help fund support for the children as Helen’s husband, Simon, will need time grappling with the new normal and the lost of his partner and wife.
- Create a legacy in honour of Helen so that her loved ones will feel how much she was loved and appreciated by many who were blessed with her kindness, friendship and generous help. Allow those that cared about Helen to contribute in anyway they wish.
So far, more than £20,000 has been raised.
A Foreign Office spokesperson told The Guardian: "We are supporting the family of a British woman who died on a flight to Frankfurt and are in contact with the local authorities."