Funeral Mass told Majella Duffy’s death on Kilimanjaro was ‘surreal’

Locals in a Cork village who recently attended a charity coffee morning for a woman who was going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania could never have anticipated she would become ill and lose her life on the trip, her funeral Mass heard.

Canon Michael Leamy told mourners at the weekend funeral Mass in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Rathcormac, Co Cork, that the passing of Majella Duffy, 35, was “surreal”.

“We all know where we were when the news of Majella’s death came to us,” he said.

“It is not something we are likely to forget. It is not long ago, on the 23rd of April, that family, neighbours and friends attended the coffee morning to raise funds for the Irish Heart Foundation.

“None of us who called that day could have envisaged what is taking place here today. All who supported the many fundraising events that Majella was involved in organising, no doubt, feel the same today.”

Canon Leamy said Majella was a very independent and caring person who had a positive outlook on life. The congregation heard Majella decided to undertake the charity climb in memory of her late father, Mike, who died of a heart attack in his 40s.

“Majella’s trip to Kilimanjaro was also about family, namely her Dad who died in 2001,” said Canon Leamy. “Her fundraising for the Irish Heart Foundation and her climb was being made in memory of Mike. I have no doubt that the funds raised will be put to good use and will benefit many families.

“A part of the mission of the Irish Heart foundation is to affect positive change in the lifestyles of Irish people and to achieve better outcomes for those affected by heart disease and stroke. Majella over the past four to five years, through her dedication to fitness, lived that mission.”

Canon Leamy said Majella and her mother Bernie were exceptionally close and were as much like sisters as mother and daughter. The congregation also heard of Majella’s love of dogs and baking. A photograph of her two dogs, Bo the huskie and Jacob the boxer, were brought to the altar as part of the offertory gifts.

Canon Leamy said Majella was full of life.

“She worked hard and set her goals,” he said. “For Majella things were black and white. She was straight to the point as you know. She was kind and caring with a positive outlook on life.”

Majella worked for Laya Healthcare in Little Island, Cork. It is understood she started to feel unwell at an altitude of 4,000m on Mount Kilimanjaro on July 14 and was attended to at the scene by a doctor but passed away.

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