FAMILY and friends are reeling from the sudden death of a 45-year-old Calderdale woman who collapsed in an Alpine cable car.
Cheryl Fairbrother was making the ascent up Monetier’s L’Yret at Serre Chevalier in the southern Alps with her 19-year-old daughter, Jade Ramsden.
Details are still sketchy but it appears attempts to resuscitate her both in the lift and at the summit failed and she died before reaching hospital.
Cheryl, of Ribstone Street, Mytholmroyd, had flown out for a week’s skiing with her partner of more than 25 years, Stephen Ramsden, and to visit Jade who had been working in the resort.
A shattered Stephen, 49, and Jade were due to fly home today to be reunited with family, including Matt Ramsden, 18, the couple’s other child.
Stephen’s parents Roland and Ann Ramsden, of Cragg Vale, told the Courier of their shock.
Roland, 81, said Stephen, a more advanced skier, had been using a nearby slope when Cheryl collapsed.
“We are not aware of any health problems. She was fit, did a lot of walking and running and ate healthily - did everything what we should do,” said Roland.
“Jade and Cheryl were taking a cable car up the mountain and on the way up Cheryl went dizzy and collapsed and the altitude wouldn’t have helped.
“It had to carry on higher and higher.”
From a distressing phone call from Jade it appeared first aid was applied to Cheryl.
“Jade was devastated. She said `my mum has not made it` and I said `what do you mean` and she rambled on about a cable car,” said Roland.
“We were stunned. We spoke again yesterday morning but have not got the full tale.
“Stephen is in bits.”
Ann, 75, said the tragedy didn’t make sense as she was fit and healthy.
“She was no age at all and a nice lass who was happy-go-lucky,” she said.
“I’ve never seen her lose her temper.
“When we heard the news Roland and I just gasped and looked at each other.
“Jade was sobbing. She had been pleased her mum and dad had gone out to see her - I don’t know if that was a surprise visit or not.”
Family friend Rob Crossley said a skiing accident would have been a shock, but more acceptable than the sudden death of a fit person.
“It’s like being in a bad dream. A lovely family who got on so well together.”
Cheryl worked as a machinist and Stephen is a mechanic.
Her mother, Dot, is making arrangements to fly home from Spain and her father, Eric, lives in Booth.