A YOUNG mother-of-three from Lurgan has died while on holiday in Poland. Sanya Gracey (44) was due to spend three weeks in the Eastern European country, but died a fortnight into the holiday, from a suspected heart attack.
A friendly, outgoing woman, she had established a friendship with her Polish neighbour and accepted an invitation to meet her family. Her sudden death came as a shock to her friends and family.
Sanya spent half her life Portadown and the other half in Lurgan. She was brought up in Queen’s Gardens in the Killicomaine estate and educated at Edenderry Primary School, Killicomaine and Brownlow College where she received a Certificate of Excellence in Child Care. When she was 21, she moved to Lurgan, her home being at Avenue Road.
She worked at the Mayfair factory at Garvaghy Road, Saracen in Lurgan and Moypark in the Seagoe Industrial Estate, and particularly enjoyed her Continental holiday, especially Spain and Turkey. At Avenue Road, she lived next door to a Polish family and was delighted when they invited her to the country which was new to her.
Her three children are Kris (17), Demi (13) and Isha (10) and she is also survived by her parents John and Sylvia McKee at Lurgan Road, Portadown, and by sister Nicola and brother Stephen.
To add to the family’s trauma, the procedure to have Sanya’s body returned to Northern Ireland was a long and cumbersome one. They had to fill out several official forms, but the papers setting out the official cause of death have not come through, and it was left to Sanya’s Polish friends to contact her sister so that she could inform the family.
Her parents described the situation as heart-breaking, adding that they could not have coped, had it not been for the professionalism and concern of local funeral director Ian Milne and his staff, “who went far beyond the call of duty to sort things out - even the British Embassy couldn’t get through to the Poles, and Ian Milne managed to get it sorted through contacts he has in Poland”.
Sanya’s death occurred on January 7, and it took 10 days before her body was flown home. Her funeral service took place at Seagoe Parish Church two days later and she was buried in the adjoining churchyard. The Seagoe Rector, Can Terence Cadden, officiated.