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Family mourns Poole mum killed in freak accident on Christmas Day
A POOLE family is mourning the tragic death of a 51-year-old woman who was swept out to sea during a freak accident on Christmas Day.
Mum-of-one Fran McKeown, who studied drama at Poole College, was paddling in the sea when she was swept off her feet and suffered fatal injuries after colliding with a groyne.
Attempts were made to resuscitate her but she died later that evening in hospital.
Her grief-stricken partner John witnessed the tragedy at St Leonards-on-Sea seafront, just hours after the couple had celebrated Fran’s birthday on Christmas Eve.
John said: “I was with Fran when it happened and tried to save her.
“She suffered from arthritis and was unsteady on her feet; a wave caught her off-guard and she stumbled.
“She was due to go to Kenya the following week on holiday with our 14-year-old son Finley.
“Fran went in for a paddle with people she had met through Facebook. They ran in and I watched as they all splashed around, standing to have their photographs taken, before Fran stumbled backwards. It was heartbreaking.
“A larger-than-life character, Fran was a fantastic person with the ability to keep friends, dating back to primary school. She left Poole when she was about 18 but we went back regularly to visit as her mother, brother and aunt who live there.
“She was a vibrant person and involved in street theatre and community projects.”
Fran is survived by her husband, John, son Finley, her mother Barbara, sister Kathy and brother Wallace.
A service to celebrate her life will be held at Hastings Crematorium on Monday at 12.30pm.