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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Abigail Nicholson

Parents of 'beautiful soul' pay tribute to mum who 'lived for her children'

The devastated parents of a mum who died after collapsing in Antalya Airport have paid tribute to their daughter who had a "beautiful soul".

Melissa Kinsella collapsed after suffering a heart attack while on holiday with partner, Jay Smith, his family and their three children, Chloe, nine, Beau, four, and Romi, two. The 30-year-old, from Moreton, was due to fly home on Monday, May 15 but was instead rushed to hospital.

Doctors told her family she had swelling on her brain and heart. Melissa was flown home by air ambulance and was blue lighted to Arrowe Park Hospital on Wednesday, May 24.

READ MORE: Mum told social worker 'you can take them' after they checked on kids

On Friday, May 26, Melissa died after doctors told her devastated family tests showed she was clinically dead. Melissa's mum, Michelle Heathcote, 51, and her husband, Steven, 52, spoke to The ECHO to pay tribute to their "loving and smart" daughter.

Michelle, who lives in Leasowe, said: "She lived for her girls, she was hard working, had a dirty laugh and she was such a good mummy. She had so much love for those girls.

"She was very hard working doing beauty and hair, she was a little whizzkid with the colours. She was so clever, she actually went to uni three times, trained to be an accountant but then got pregnant, then trained in nursing and got pregnant again before going back to beauty.

"She got 12 GCSEs and three and a half A-Levels. She was so dizzy, the girls in work used to call her messy Missy."

Steve shared a memory of his daughter when they were planning the holiday to Turkey. He said: "When we started booking to go to Turkey we were all going together, Melissa, Jay, the kids, us and her in-laws, so we asked her where we were going as we used to go to Marmaris when she was a kid. She said 'we're going to Marmaris'.

He chuckled: "Anyway as it started getting closer she was sitting with her in-laws and they said 'we're going to Antalya'. We couldn't change the booking."

Michelle said: "When we were told she collapsed we travelled for four and a half hours in a taxi and it cost us £250. They [the hopsital] just kept asking for money and we were worried the credit card was going to run out.

"I put up a post on Facebook and I never in a million years could have imagined the response. I thought people might tell me what to do but I was so overwhelmed and grateful."

Melissa was brought back to the UK with no medical notes and staff at Arrowe Park had to run multiple tests to see if Melissa had any brain activity. After three hours the family were called into a room and told initial tests showed their 30-year-old daughter had no brain activity.

Michelle said: "It was just so sad, we were all crying - her dad, me, and her sister were all crying. They said they would leave it until tomorrow to give her a chance but I think I knew then that she was brain dead.

"They told us she had registered to be an organ doner in 2022 with specific parts of her body. Even though it was beautiful, it was so surreal, they said we could come back and see her before she went down [for surgery] the next morning.

"When her dad came in the room the next day she moved, and I went to kiss her on the head and she moved again. Her dad made them run all of the tests again with him in the room but they said it was involuntary movements."

The family say they now just want to lay Melissa to rest with a funeral "fit for a princess". They have already arranged a horse and carriage and a white casket ready for when they are given the go ahead from the coroner.

Michelle said: "We have been blown away by all of the support. I have had over 400 friend requests and I think around 5,000 people have liked my Facebook post. These people are strangers, and they have been so generous with the GoFundMe and people are still fundraising to help the girls and to help us give Melissa a funeral fit for a princess.

"We are so grateful."


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