Family of 10th Jersey explosion victim Kathleen McGinness remember her as 'most wonderful person'

  • Kathleen's son Stephen McGinness speaks to ITV Channel's Emma Volney

Tributes are being paid to 73-year-old Kathleen McGinness who was confirmed this week to have died following the explosion at a block of flats on Pier Road in Jersey.

Kathleen died on Christmas Day - 15 days after the explosion at the block of flats next to where she lived in St Helier.

Her family say she was simply "the most wonderful person ever" and "loved by everyone who knew her".

Her son, Stephen McGinness, told ITV News: "She was full of love, caring and she couldn't do enough for me, my brother, my sister and the grandchildren.

"She was so supportive and family was the most important thing to her."

Kathleen's family meant everything to her. Credit: Family photo

Kathleen had three children and six grandchildren who meant everything to her and always made her immensely proud.

Stephen said: "She was so positive and had such a can-do attitude. She led life to the full and was just a fun person who was so hardworking and full of life.

"No-one had a bad word to say about her. I just want people to know that she was the most amazing person.

"I know my mum is very proud of all three of us and the grandchildren.

"I'm doing the marathon next year, and she wrote in my fundraising page 'from your proud mum', so I've always got something there to look back on to see in words how proud she was.

"She was always there for me, my brother and my sister. She was there on the sidelines, cheering us on, proud of us for trying hard and enjoying ourselves."

Kathleen with two of her six grandchildren. Credit: Family photo

Faith was also an important part of Kathleen's life and she was a devout Catholic who attended Mass every Sunday.

Stephen said: "When we used to go on family holidays, the first thing we would do would always be to find a church. A lot of her morals came from her faith.

"It is hard to carry on but we have to - our mum would not want us moping around. We have to carry on for her and stay positive and lead life to the maximum.

"Mum did that and it's our duty to carry on in her footsteps and enjoy and make the most of life."

Kathleen was originally from Scotland, but moved to Jersey with her late husband to raise their children; Stephen, Karlene and Paul.

She later worked at Highlands College where she was renowned for being kind and caring.

Principal Jo-Terry Marchant said: "I gained a lot personally from Kath's support and guidance, she had a wealth of knowledge and expertise and treated everyone with the utmost respect and kindness."

Kathleen lived adjacent to the block of flats where the explosion took place on Saturday 10 December.

The investigation into what caused the blast will be led by Detective Superintendent Alison Fossey of States of Jersey Police with support from the National Crime Agency.

Stephen said: "I trust that the investigation will be thorough. But it's very important for me, Karlene and Paul that justice prevails and whether it's a year, two, three years down the line, I want to make sure that whoever is responsible is held to account.

"Personally, I will not let this rest until whoever is responsible is held to account because my mum was taken from us, she was full of life and she was taken from us, and it's important that there is a proper investigation."

Nine other islanders died following the explosion: 72-year-old Peter Bowler, 71-year-old Raymond (Raymie) Brown, Romeu and Louise De Almeida (67 and 64 years), Derek and Sylvia Ellis (61 and 73 years), Ken (72) and Jane Ralph (71) and Billy Marsden (63).