A PENSIONER died after plunging 150ft from a cliff in Anglesey – despite a dramatic helicopter rescue involving Prince William.
Grandmother-of-five Barbara Cecilia Mageean, 73, of Old Chester Road, Great Sutton, was walking with husband Owen and dog Sally when she fell at Trearddur Bay.
An RAF Valley Sea King helicopter piloted by Prince William was scrambled but Mrs Mageean, a mother-of-two and former clerk at Lloyds Bank in Ellesmere Port, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Husband Owen Mageean said: “We just walked along the pathway – it was a very gentle incline.
“She was holding my hand, then let go to try and grab hold of the dog. She just stepped one pace too many over the edge.
“It was a sheer drop. She completely disappeared from sight.
Mr Mageean called 999 and the Holyhead coastguard sent a rescue helicopter from RAF Valley, which was already on an exercise.
Mr Mageean said he knew his wife was dead when he saw the winchman raised with his wife in his arms – with no stretcher.
She was located on the rocks 150ft below and was flown to Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor.
Mr Mageean added: “The doctor came and gave me a hug. She said if it’s any consolation it would have been instant. It took some courage to go and see her, but I was able to kiss her and say my goodbyes.”
North West Wales coroner Dewi Pritchard Jones opened an inquest into her death last Wednesday and adjourned to a date to be fixed.
Mr Mageean has written to Prince William to thank him for his efforts and wish him well for his marriage.
“I wrote that we were married for 50 years and that I hoped his marriage lasts as long and is as happy as ours was,” he said.
Mr Mageean retired from Stanney High School in 1990 after 30 years as an art teacher there. He and his wife had run evening classes at the school.
He is now verger at St John the Evangelist Church in Great Sutton, helping to organise many funerals.
On Tuesday at 1.30pm he will attend his wife’s at the same church where a photograph from their wedding day will sit by the font.
The couple met aged 16 at Trinity Methodist Church, marrying in 1960. Last April they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in The Chimneys, Hooton.
“It was love at first sight,” added Mr Mageean.
Mrs Mageean, a former Helsby Grammar School pupil, also leaves behind children Simon Mageean, 44, of Fir Tree Lane, Littleton, Chester – a former Tranmere Rovers youth team player – and Sally, 47.
A keen walker who was a member of the RSPB, Mrs Mageean knitted to raise funds for the Clatterbridge cancer hospital.
“She had great faith,” said her husband.
“She loved gardening. She used to do anything for anybody. She was a kind person.”
“Friends of ours in their 80s have come round.
“You can feel their concern, their love and warmth is so sincere. It’s a great comfort.”