Tributes are paid to a woman who died in Butlins holiday tragedy

A mum has died after collapsing in a holiday park swimming pool.

Jodie, right with her husband Mikey
Jodie, right with her husband Mikey

Jodie O’Connell, who was a human resources adviser for BAe systems in Preston, was on a break with family at Butlin’s Skegness resort when she suffered an aneurysm.

Her grieving loved ones can take some consolation this week that the tragedy has made her a life-saver.

For the mother-of-one, who would have turned 29 this week, was an organ donor and doctors have told relatives that no fewer than five patients have benefitted.

Jodie, was taken ill shortly after going on a thrill-seeking ride at the Butlin’s Splash centre last Thursday.

She was airlifted to Nottingham Hospital where she was kept alive for two days, even though there was little or no chance of her recovering, so that the organs could be harvested. She passed away on Saturday, October 16.

Contrary to social media rumours, Jodie had not banged her head on the slide, nor did her seven-year-old daughter or other family members witness her collapse because they were on another ride at the time. Her husband Mikey, who was on the holiday with Jodie, their daughter and Jodie’s mother, today led the tributes.

The 30-year-old said: “Jodie was the life and soul of the party and will be missed by many.

“It is comforting that even after she has gone she is still helping people with her organ donations. It also helps that it must have been so quick.

“She went on the slide, will have had the euphoria of that. Then she stood up and suddenly, to all intents and purposes, she was gone. She died at a moment that she was enjoying herself. She just suffered an unexpected medical episode and hadn’t injured herself beforehand.

“The rest of us had been on the River Rapids and didn’t seen what had happened. Eventually we noticed that someone was being worked on, but we did not know it was Jodie at first. I went over and was asked to leave, but I refused, saying I wasn’t going anywhere until they told me whether she had blue hair or not.

“Her life was more or less over from that point. They managed to restart her heart and she was breathing, but they only kept her going because she was an organ donor.”

A Butlin’s spokesperson said: “We’re deeply saddened by this tragic news and our thoughts go out to family and friends at this incredibly sad and difficult time.”

In a Facebook post last Saturday, Mikey wrote: “I’ve just said my final goodbye to my soulmate, partner in crime, my wife, the most amazing woman anyone could ever wish to meet.

“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my 30 years on this earth. I’m heartbroken, distraught, dumbstruck and everything in between I am so numb it is unreal.

“Words can never describe how much you mean to me Jodie, just know I love you to the moon and stars a million times over and back again.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do without you, I need you in my life but sadly you’ve gone to a better place as your time with me is finished. I’m glad you weren’t in any pain and I hope you are at peace.

“I promise you I’ll look after our gorgeous daughter and do you proud. I miss you and I wish you were here. You are my everything and always will be. Sleep tight angel.”

Born in 1992, Jodie from Marsh Green in Wigan, had attended Sacred Heart RC Primary in Springfield and St John Fisher RC High School in Beech Hill.

Until the pandemic struck she had worked with her mum for Shearings Holidays until it went into administration. She had been working for BAe Systems for a year.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Jodie and her family and has already raised more than £3,000.

Alex Farnham, who set up the page, said: “Jodie was truly one of a kind, a caring, loving, vibrant, selfless person who lit up any room she walked in to. A doting mum to an amazing little girl and a loving wife.

Let’s all pull together at this sad time and give Jodie the send off she truly deserves. Not goodbye just until we meet again fly high beautiful.️ Rest in paradise.”

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