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'Devoted mum' Mum of four who died from Covid-19 along with her mother named as Sammie-Jo Forde

The 32-year-old Co Down woman who died from Covid-19 after choosing not to be vaccinated has left behind four young children.

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Kevin McAllister and daughter Sammie Jo Forde. Pic: BBC

Kevin McAllister and daughter Sammie Jo Forde. Pic: BBC

Kevin McAllister and daughter Sammie Jo Forde. Pic: BBC

The 32-year-old Co Down woman who died from Covid-19 after choosing not to be vaccinated has left behind four young children.

Sammie-Jo Forde died at the weekend, just days after her mum, who was also unvaccinated, lost her life to the virus in the same ward at the Ulster Hospital, where her daughter was fighting for her life.

Mrs Forde, who lived in Groomsport, has been described as a "devoted mum" to her children, Max, Ruby, Milo and Daisy, while her heartbroken father has said she and her mum "lived together, worked together and died together".

Speaking on BBC Stephen Nolan’s radio show on Wednesday morning, Kevin McAllister said: “I’ve had the worst weekend of my life, my daughter passed away on Saturday from Covid-19. Her mummy got buried yesterday, she had Covid-19.

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The mum and daughter died at the Ulster Hospital Photo: Pacemaker Press

The mum and daughter died at the Ulster Hospital Photo: Pacemaker Press

The mum and daughter died at the Ulster Hospital Photo: Pacemaker Press

“Both of them never took the Covid injections…these people who are not taking the Covid-19 injection, they’re not thinking of the other people they’re leaving behind.

“I’ve lost my daughter, my best friend, all I have are memories of her, motorbike racing, fishing, driving diggers, that’s all the memories I have.

“She’s getting buried next Monday and I can’t even give her a kiss cheerio. Next Monday, I have to bury my first born, my best friend, my daughter, and I can’t get it out of my mind why she didn’t take it. It will haunt me for the rest of my life.”

Mr McAllister said his daughter, who was a care worker, had no underlying health conditions and revealed she was just two beds away from her mum, named by the BBC as Heather Maddern, in hospital.

He said he received a text message from his daughter to let him know his ex-partner, also a care worker, had passed away.

“They lived together, they worked together, they died together,” he said.

Reacting to the double tragedy, UUP MLA Alan Chambers, who knows the family, said: “It’s such shocking news, Sammie-Jo had four kids under the age of 11.

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“They are lovely kids, they have such good manners, they’re very well-brought up children and Sammie-Jo was such a good mum to them.

“She did so much with them, the house was always decorated for Hallowe’en, she made a big deal of Christmas for the children, she was just such a lovely, lovely girl.

“She only came to the village a few years ago but she always had a smile on her face, she was always reaching out and offering to help.

“Even though she had four kids of her own, if someone needed help or if they needed someone to look after their children for an afternoon, Sammie-Jo would have been at the head of the queue to volunteer to do it.

“They were a very hardworking and well-respected family, there’s no-one in Groomsport who would have a bad word to say about them.

“Something like this brings into sharp focus your own family and grandchildren and makes you want to give them an extra hug.

“It’s also a reminder that Covid is still out there and it’s still making people ill, so we need to continue to keep our guard up, wear our masks and wash our hands.”

A fundraising page has been set up by Mrs Forde’s best friend, Debbie Strain, to help provide financial support to her husband, John, and their four children in the months ahead.

The Help Support The Forde Family gofundme page had raised more than £10,000 on Wednesday afternoon.

Ms Strain said: “Anyone who was lucky enough to know Sammie knew how she felt about John (her caveman) and her kids. She was an amazing mother, a loving wife and she will never be forgotten!!

“I can't even imagine what he or the kids are feeling at this time! To not only lose their granny/mother-in-law but to lose their mother/wife is just unimaginable!

“If we could pull together and raise as much as we to help John and the kids through this financially, that will be one worry from their heads, so they can focus on themselves and try to get through this.”

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