Woman thanks community for support following husband’s tragic death

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The devastated wife of 33-year-old Roddy McAllister, who died in a car crash on the A83 near Tarbert on December 11, has thanked members of the community for ‘overwhelming kindness’.

Emma McAllister, 34, contacted the Courier this week in a bid to thank people for their help and support following the tragic loss of her childhood sweetheart.

Roddy and Emma became a couple on December 16, 2004, when they were aged 15 and 16 respectively.

And, despite being just 16 when Emma became pregnant with the couple’s first child, Roddy was there ‘every step of the way’ and became an ‘amazing daddy’ to Dylan, now 15.

‘We just loved being mummy and daddy, and quickly went on to have Aimee-Leigh, 12, Amber, 10, Ailie-Rose, five, and Rhysie boy, four,’ Emma said.

‘We had five kiddies but really I had six as Roddy was the biggest kid of all! He was always playing practical jokes on us and making us laugh.

‘He always told stories of his childhood and how he loved it; there was always fun and laughs for him growing up and that same fun, laughter and love filled our house.’

She added: ‘Roddy and I had lots of fights – he knew how to push my buttons and I knew how to wind him up – but I always knew how much Roddy loved me as he would tell me at least three times a day and even message or phone from work just to tell me he loved me.’

Roddy worked hard to provide for his family and ‘absolutely loved’ his job in the malt barns at Springbank Distillery, sometimes taking his children with him to show them what his work involved.

‘Above all, Roddy loved nothing more than family time,’ Emma said. ‘We always had family days at the beach, long walks, camping trips, days away, duvet days, garden days and we loved movie and game nights.

‘We were always together as a family; we were surrounded by our children when Roddy proposed to me on December 17, 2016, and we had a lovely private wedding in Dunoon Registry Office, with just our close family and friends, on September 2, 2017, with each of our children playing a role in the ceremony.

‘Unfortunately, due to this tragic accident, our life together and our plans for the future have been cut short in the most awful way.

‘I’m so glad I got to spend 17 amazing, hard, fun years with Roddy and I’m absolutely heartbroken that he is gone far too soon. Life won’t be the same without him but I know he will never be forgotten.’

Roddy, his sister Tanya, and Ailie-Rose were involved in the car accident on their way home from the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, where Rhys was a patient, after his appendix burst the week before.

Emma, who was with Rhys in hospital, said: ‘I would like to thank every single person who stopped when they came across the accident and a massive thank you to Stephanie for sitting with Ailie-Rose – I’m so glad she had a familiar face with her.

‘I also want to say a massive thank you to my big sister Lorraine and her sister-in-law Dawn for dropping everything and rushing to the hospital to be with me and Rhys; I couldn’t have made it through those hours without them both.’

As well as being ‘absolutely overwhelmed’ by the amount of help from friends and family, Emma has been ‘blown away’ by the kindness of the whole community, including people she doesn’t know personally, who helped raise £19,518 for the family through a GoFundMe page.

‘That money has been able to give Roddy the send-off he truly deserved and will help us as a family so much during this awful time,’ she said. ‘I won’t have to worry about being able to keep a roof over me and the children’s heads or keeping them fed while I’m off work.

‘I want to say a massive thank you to every single person who helped out over the last few weeks, every single person who donated to the GoFundMe page and Helen Gilchrist’s fundraiser, the Co-op and Castlehill Primary School for a food delivery to keep us going when we got home from hospital, to my neighbours Mary and Cabo for our shopping and a homecooked meal, to funeral directors Kenny and Rhys Blair for everything they did for us, to the Campbeltown Nursery Centre girls for the amazing Christmas eve boxes for the children, to my workmates for their gorgeous bunch of flowers, money and my secret Santa gift, to Clare for the arts and crafts to keep the children entertained for days and Zoe for the children’s sweetie hampers.

‘Also, a massive thank you to Lauren Wright of Wright Hair Right Now, Look Good Feel Good, Vanity, Emma McKinven Blankets, Fresh Connection and McKellars for their lovely hamper and vouchers, and Jayne Gillies at Omorfia for her vouchers for a lovely spa day for the girls and women of the family.

‘A big thank you to everyone who had flowers delivered to us, for all the cards, gifts, money, and biscuits and sweets dropped off for the children – I really appreciate it all.

‘I apologise if I’ve missed anyone; it has amazed me how kind the whole community has been. It shouldn’t, as I know the whole town always pulls together in hard times, but I’ve never been on the receiving end and I don’t know how to thank everyone.’

She added: ‘I knew Roddy was well liked and the streets on the day of his funeral showed that. Thank you to everyone who came out and stood for him – it blew me away and I cried when I saw just how many people had come out for Roddy, even in the rain.’