Larne family’s heartbreak over loss due to Covid pandemic

The daughters of a Larne woman who passed away due to Covid have spoken of the family’s heartbreak at the loss of a wife, mother and grandmother who was very much the centre of their lives.

Michelle King and Sarah-Anne Boyle have been left shocked and bereft at the sequence of events which claimed the life of their beloved mum Anne.

Anne Neill was admitted to hospital after being unwell and complications set in after she developed an infection on pins and a plate she had in her foot.

This led to her transfer to the Royal Victoria Hospital for an emergency operation. On arrival at the RVH Anne tested positive for Covid and although the emergency operation went ahead successfully, her condition deteriorated in the ICU after six days.

Anne Neill

Anne’s daughter Michelle said: “Her oxygen levels dropped and unfortunately she had to be ventilated on 5th Jan. She was then transferred to the City Hospital.”

Anne was kept on a ventilator along with kidney dialysis and blood pressure support and the medical team were also initially proning her, a procedure which has been found to be helpful for Covid patents.

The hospital called the family with daily updates on Anne’s condition, which sadly deteriorated over the weekend of January 15-17.

“We were contacted by the hospital on Tuesday 19th to explain that they had reviewed mum and from a medical perspective they recommended that they withdraw support and treatment as they believed they were currently delaying the inevitable,” daughter Michelle explained.

Michelle and Sarah-Anne and their dad Bill were told they could have a Zoom call with Anne, which they did.

It was the first time they had seen Anne since Boxing Day and the last time they would ever see her as the coffin was closed when it was brought back to a local funeral parlour, in accordance with the regulations relating to the pandemic.

Now the family say they want to share their story with others so that the reality of Covid can be very clear to the wider public.

“It has been heart-breaking for us all, it doesn’t seem real and we think that we will get a call to say mum is getting better or even that they had got it wrong,” said Michelle.

“We have watched and listened to others passing away because of Covid on the news but never ever imagined it would happen to us.”

Sarah-Anne reflected that her mum had previously been fit and well with no underlying conditions.

“Now our whole family have the reality of living life without a wife, mum, nana, daughter, sister, aunt, mother-in-law and friend,” she said. 

The family have expressed thanks to their family and friends who have supported them following Anne’s death and the staff at Antrim Area Hospital, the Royal Victoria Hospital and Covid ICU at the City Hospital for the care they gave her when she was unwell.

Anne was originally from Moy in County Tyrone and had come to Larne at the age of 13 years with her family when her father Sidney obtained a job in the east Antrim town.

She was a well-known and respected lady in Larne, and a popular member of St Cedma’s music group and choir.

Tributes to her on social media included a message from Irish country star Dominic Kirwan, who said: “I’m truly saddened to hear this news. Anne Neill was a lovely lady to meet and supported my career for many years. I pray that Anne is at peace and send my condolences to all of Anne’s family.”


Click here to read: Larne ICU nurse’s Covid risk plea after losing husband to virus


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