Helen Rhodes was on her way back to the UK after living in Hong Kong for over 15 years
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Helen Rhodes died in her sleep on a return flight to the UK.
A “devoted” mother died in front of her “devastated” husband and children as they were on a flight back to the UK.
Helen Rhodes had returned to the UK with her husband Simon and their two children after more than 15 years in Hong Kong.
A fundraiser started by her friend Jayne Jeje has already raised more than £13,000.
Just hours after the August 5 flight, Helen was found unresponsive after appearing to fall asleep and could not be revived.
For the remaining 8 hours of the flight, she remained in her seat in a “breathless sleep.”
Ms Jeje said while this was “traumatizing” for the family, they had “all the time” to tell her what she needed.
“She was the glue that held her family together”
The flight landed in Frankfurt, Germany – where her body remains and Ms. Jeje boarded the flight go fund me Fundraiser to bring her back to the UK and help with funeral expenses.
In a statement on the site, Ms Jeje said: “We remain in disbelief and shocked at the sudden death of our dearest friend Helen Rhodes, whose life has touched many in Hong Kong and the UK. Helen died in her sleep on her flight from HK to UK.
“Helen became unresponsive a few hours into the flight. Despite best efforts, Helen could not be revived. This all unfolded before her children.
“For the remaining 8 hours of the flight, Helen lay in her seat in a breathless sleep. Although this was extremely traumatizing for the family, everyone had time to tell her what they had to say. Needless to say, they are devastated.
“This loss is unimaginable. Helen was a devoted wife and mother. She was the glue that held her family together.”
“We can only hope she knew how much she meant to us”
The family had been living in Tung Chung and were starting a “new chapter” on returning to the UK and Helen was “looking forward” to seeing the family and her parents had not seen her since the pandemic began.
The fundraiser also aims to support Helen’s children and create a legacy in her honor.
Ms Jeje said Helen, who was a trained midwife, ran her own business to make bespoke bows and accessories and credited her for describing them as “one of a kind” and “a jewel”.
She said: “Helen has always made herself available to help others. She was smart, funny and generous with her time.
“This fundraiser is to honor this beautiful woman who was loved by so many, a dear friend who touched so many people. We can only hope she knew how much she meant to us and that her void can never be filled.”