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Brother of tragic Covid victim Samantha Willis says 'hold your loved ones that bit tighter'

'I just wish she got the chance to meet her daughter Eviegrace'


Ciara O'Loughlin and Amy Cochrane

The brother of a Northern Irish mother who died from Covid-19 said he wishes she got to meet her newborn baby girl Eviegrace.

The funeral of Samantha Willis, who died from coronavirus after giving birth, took place yesterday at St Columb’s Church in Derry.

The 35-year-old died in ICU at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry on Friday after a 16-day battle with Covid-19. Tragically, Samantha never got to hold her newborn baby girl.

Taking to Twitter, her brother Adam Moore wrote: “After losing my sister to Covid just a couple of days ago, if I can say anything to anyone please just hold your loved ones that but tighter tonight because you will never realise when the last time will be.

" I just wish she got the chance to meet her daughter Eviegrace.”

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During Samantha’s funeral service her two-week-old daughter Eviegrace was baptised.

Fr Joe Clifford, who led the service, said that this was the first time he has conducted a baptism at the same service as a funeral.

He said that it is rare but “speaks about death and life all interwoven”. “It is sadness and joy all at the same time, but never brought together as close as this.

“And the joy of baptism of this new life doesn’t minimise death, but rather the sadness that brings us here all in the context of faith.”

He said Samantha’s untimely death was “very much out of order – especially when Samantha birthed forth new life just days ago, it doesn’t make sense”.

The funeral was in the same church where Samantha wed husband, Josh, two years ago.

Samantha, a care worker, leaves behind three other children, her son Shea and daughters Holly and Lilyanna.

She had not been vaccinated against the virus and over the weekend, her husband Josh made an emotional plea to people to get the jab to save having to go through the trauma his family is experiencing.

In a Facebook post, he said: “Samantha had put up a strong fight for the last 16 days but in the end it just wasn’t enough.

"She did her best to come home to her family and beautiful children and shortly after 12 o’clock in the early hours of Friday morning passed away peacefully in ICU in Altnagelvin Hospital. Myself, her mother and two eldest children were by her side. She was in no pain and was comfortable when she slipped away.

“Whilst in hospital she also had to deliver our newest addition to the family who she has never met properly or held in her arms.”

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