Search icon


24th Aug 2021

Baby of Derry woman who died of Covid is baptised at her funeral

Laura Grainger

Heartbreaking news.

A woman who passed away after contracting Covid-19 following the birth of her daughter was laid to rest at the same time her baby was baptised.

Mourners at the funeral for Derry woman Samantha Willis were told how “death and life were all interwoven” as her two-week-old daughter Eviegrace was also baptised on Monday, according to reports.

The mother-of-four died in ICU at Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry on Friday after after contracting the virus 16 days prior. She never got to hold her newborn baby girl.

The service was the first time Fr Joe Clifford had conducted a baptism and a funeral at the same time, he said.

He told those in attendance that “the joy of baptism of this new life doesn’t minimise death, but rather the sadness that brings us here all in the context of faith.”

He added that Samantha’s tragic death didn’t “make sense” especially when “Samantha birthed forth new life just days ago.”

Samantha had not been vaccinated against the virus. Over the weekend, her husband Josh urged people to get the jab in light of Northern Ireland’s latest rise in cases.

Samantha, a care worker, is also mourned by her three other children. A family notice announcing her death stated they had lost the “Beloved Wife of Josh and Loving Mother of Shéa, Holly, Lilyanna and Eviegrace.”

In a Facebook post, Josh shared: “Samantha had put up a strong fight for the last 16 days but in the end it just wasn’t enough.

“She did her best to come home to her family and beautiful children and shortly after 12 o’clock in the early hours of Friday morning passed away peacefully in ICU in Altnagelvin Hospital. Myself, her mother and two eldest children were by her side. She was in no pain and was comfortable when she slipped away.

“Whilst in hospital she also had to deliver our newest addition to the family who she has never met properly or held in her arms.

“…I will never let anyone forget you and I will remember all the special times and experiences we shared together,” he said, adding that the children are now his main priority and that Eviegrace will know all about her mother.

“I’m sure she’s already looking down and proud of how we are coping. We are also proud of her, she was a wonderful, loving and caring person and she has been our super hero the last few weeks.

“She is now our guardian angel and she will remain in our hearts and thoughts forevermore.

“We love you loads and miss you. We wish we could only have helped you get home to live the rest of your life with us. I will never stop loving you and we will do our best to make you proud until we see you again.”

Other friends and family members also paid tribute to Samantha.