Northern Ireland news

Young mother's Covid related death 'casts cloud over community'

Sarah Lennon (39) died last Thursday just weeks after contracting coronavirus
Seanín Graham

A MOTHER-OF-THREE who died after contracting coronavirus was remembered yesterday as "someone who offered her time without hesitation" as she was laid to rest in Co Down.

Sarah Lennon (39) who was originally from Leitrim near Castlewellan, died in the Ulster Hospital, Dundonald last Thursday, just weeks after testing positive.

It is understood she had no serious underlying health condition.

Well known in the community and Down GAA circles, Mrs Lennon worked in the family owned Lennon's Spar and garage in Castlewellan where her husband Eamon is the proprietor.

A sympathy notice read she was the "cherished mother" of Erin (11) Conleth (9) Sophie (3) and the late Aidan.

The family of the late Nuala McLaughlin gathered on Sunday to take part in a 5k Walk for Nuala

A photograph of her "beloved children" and her work uniform were among the gifts during her funeral yesterday.

Mrs Lennon played camogie as a girl and was an active member of Bryansford gaelic club, where she was a supervisor for the under-nine boys and and under-11 girls. Her two eldest children both played.

Chris Rooney, club chair, said her passing had left the south Down community reeling.

"Sarah was a healthy girl. As far as I know, there were no underlying illnesses. She got Covid a few weeks ago and went downhill...It is so hard to believe this has happened," he said.

"Sarah was genuinely a very lovely person. If there was anything she could do to help, she was always there. She was a person who offered her time without hesitation. She loved being down at the club watching her children train with us."

Mrs Lennon's death is the first Covid-related fatality in Northern Ireland since June 8.

To date, there have been 2,156 coronavirus linked deaths.

SDLP councillor Laura Devlin, who was a friend of Mrs Lennon, said she was "one of the kindest, loveliest girls you could ever meet".

She said the tragedy had reinforced the feeling that “we are far from the end” of Covid-19.

"It's really hard to get words to describe what people are feeling or thinking about what has happened," she said.

"I saw her about a week and a half ago in the shop...she was a complete worker. And while she ran the petrol station and was the owner, she was very much involved in the local community."

Down GAA said Mrs Lennon's death has "cast a cloud over the Castlewellan and Liatroim areas".

"A young mum of three children, Sarah was always a friendly face in Lennon's garage, which over many years has become an unofficial post office for Down GAA. Sarah was always willing to assist in ensuring that people could collect or drop off items on behalf of Down GAA," it posted.

"We extend our deepest and heartfelt sympathy to her husband Eamon, her three children, her mum, brothers and sister and the entire Lennon and O Hare family circle."

Meanwhile, the family of the late Nuala McLaughlin gathered yesterday to take part in a 5k Walk for Nuala.

Ms McLaughlin (43) and from Glencull, Ballygawley in Co Tyrone was a social worker who died as a result of Covid-19 in December.

Funds raised will go to the intensive care unit in the South West Area Hospital and to Child Support Services, which was a cause "close to Nuala's heart" her family said.

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