Helen Rhodes: who was mum that died in front of husband and children on return flight from Hong Kong to UK?

Helen Rhodes had been on her way back to the UK after living in Hong Kong for over 15 years

A “devoted” mum passed away in front of her “devastated” husband and children on a flight as they returned back to the UK.

Helen Rhodes along with her husband Simon and their two children had been returning to the UK after living in Hong Kong for over 15 years.

A fundraiser started by her friend Jayne Jeje has already raised more than £22,000.

Just a few hours into the flight on 5 August Helen was found unresponsive after seemingly falling asleep and couldn’t be resuscitated.

For the remaining 8 hours of the flight she remained in her seat in a “breathless sleep.”

Ms Jeje said while this was “traumatising” for the family they had “all the time” to say what the needed to her.

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Helen Rhodes passed away in her sleep on a flight back to the UK.

What happened on the flight?

The flight landed at Frankfurt, Germany - where her body remains and Ms Jeje has started the Go Fund Me fundraiser to help bring her back to the UK and to assist with funeral costs.

In a statement on the page Ms Jeje said: “We are still in disbelief and shock about the sudden passing of our dearest friend Helen Rhodes, whose life has touched many people in Hong Kong and the UK. Helen passed away in her sleep on her flight from HK to UK.

“Helen was found unresponsive a few hours into the flight. Despite all efforts, Helen was not able to be resuscitated. This all unfolded in front of her children.

“For the remaining 8 hours of the flight, Helen lay in a breathless sleep in her seat. Although this was extremely traumatising to the family, they all had time to say what they needed to say to her. Needless to mention, they are devastated.

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“This loss is unimaginable. Helen was a devoted wife and mother. She was the glue that held her family together.”

Who was Helen Rhodes?

The family had been living in Tung Chung and were embarking on a “new chapter” in returning to the UK and Helen was “looking forward” to seeing family and her parents, who are from Berkshire, having not seen them since the start of the pandemic.

The fundraiser is also aiming to help support Helen’s children, as well as creating a legacy in her honour.

Ms Jeje said Helen, who was a trained midwife, ran her own business making bespoke bows and accessories, paying tribute to her she described her as “one of a kind” and “a gem”.

She said: “Helen always made herself available to help others. She was clever, witty and generous with her time.

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“This fundraiser is to honor this lovely 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 how her void can never be filled.”

In an update on the fundraising page as donations topped £22,000 just two days after it was set up, Ms Jeje said: “To all who have known Helen or been touched by her story, thank you for the kind messages and support. We are overwhelmed with gratitude. “As we know, this is just the beginning for the Rhodeses. What follows after all of this will be a long road ahead of picking up the pieces. To build a life without Helen, it won’t be easy.”