A GRIEVING family have spoken of their heartbreak at being unable to afford the £10,000 cost of returning the body of a grandmother to the UK after she died suddenly on holiday in Canada.
Gillian Goodison, 59, from Halifax, suffered a fatal heart attack five days before Christmas during a trip to stay with the family of one of her daughters
Arrangements had to be made for a funeral and cremation in Canada as Mrs Goodison had not taken out travel insurance.
Her relatives in the UK were unable to afford costs of just over £10,000 to fly her body back to the UK.
Mrs Goodison’s family say they hope their plight will serve as a warning to others not to overlook taking out insurance before travelling abroad.
Only one of Mrs Goodison’s daughters, Lisa Howley, 38, was able to attend the funeral, held in Hamilton, Ontario, along with her three children and husband, Adam
Her three daughters back in Yorkshire have been left devastated at being unable to attend the ceremony.
Youngest daughter Siobhan Goodison, 22, from Bingley, said: “We are all still in a state of shock and trying to come to terms with what has happened. My mum wasn’t poorly and did not have any history of heart problems. This has come completely out of the blue.
“There is no way we could afford to pay £10,000. We just don’t have that kind of money as we all have young families to support.
“It’s very upsetting that we have not been able to say our last goodbyes and get some final closure over the sudden loss of our mum.”
Mrs Goodison, who had recently retired from working at a tea shop in Ilkley, had gone for a six-month stay at her daughter’s home and was due to return home in March.
Mrs Howley emigrated to the North American country four years ago with her family.
Siobhan said: “Mum had gone out to stay with them two years ago and really loved the place. She was thinking of moving over there permanently.
“The last time she went she took out insurance but for some reason she didn’t this time around. It would have cost her just £20 per month.
“We just hope anyone who learns about what has happened to mum will think twice before choosing not to take out insurance the next time they go travelling.
“We are going through a very distressing time at what is supposed to be one of the happiest times of the year. But if mum was here she would be telling us we had to get on with things and make sure the children have a good Christmas.”
Siobhan Goodison said the family set up a fundraising page online to raise the £500 needed to fly her ashes back to Yorkshire and well-wishers have already helped them reach the target which will be returned by mid-January. Family and friends plan a memorial service and to scatter the ashes at Fountains Abbey.
Siobhan added: “It was always a place mum loved and she used to talk about wanting her ashes to be scattered there. It will be the closest thing we can now get to a proper funeral for her here.”