Mother’s anguish at loss of ‘perfect daughter’ in double tragedy

John and Lynette Rodgers
John and Lynette Rodgers

The mother of the honeymoon bride who drowned along with her husband in South Africa has described her as the “perfect daughter”.

Lynette Rodgers, 26, from Holywood, Co Down, died along with husband John, 28, after getting caught in a riptide at Plettenberg Bay on Friday – just six days after they walked down the aisle.

John and Lynette Rodgers who were found on a beach at Plettenberg Bay in the Western Cape in South Africa. 'Photo: Pacemaker Press

John and Lynette Rodgers who were found on a beach at Plettenberg Bay in the Western Cape in South Africa. 'Photo: Pacemaker Press

Her mother, Eva Reilly, said she was “totally devastated”.

Mrs Reilly, who lost her husband 10 years ago, said: “Life is cruel. My perfect daughter. Loving, kind and so much in love. I will miss her dearly.”

Speaking to UTV, Mrs Reilly added: “It’s everybody’s nightmare – every mum’s nightmare. They were just the perfect couple. I had a message from her at half past two on the Friday – it (the tragedy) happened around six.”

Post-mortem examinations are due to be carried out this week before arrangements are made to fly the bodies back home.

It’s everybody’s nightmare – every mum’s nightmare. They were just the perfect couple

Mrs Rodgers worked as a physiotherapist for the South Eastern Health Trust.

Her colleagues have paid tribute to her as a “kind, gracious and compassionate” friend, and have arranged for a tribute to be placed in the sea at Plettenberg Bay.

In a statement, the health workers described their “great sadness”, and said: “Lynette was one of the most kind and gracious physiotherapists that everyone had the pleasure of working with. She was cheerful, loved her work and was kind and compassionate to her patients.”

Mr Rodgers, a University of Ulster engineering graduate from Ballygowan, worked for Calvert Office Equipment in Belfast.

His employers said: “Since John joined our engineering team earlier this year, his enthusiasm, drive and natural ability were apparent to everyone.

“We have been overwhelmed by the number of customers who have contacted us to convey messages of support to both John and Lynette’s families.”

Mr Rodgers’ body was discovered in shallow surf on Robberg Beach by a local man at around 6pm on Friday, South Africa’s National Sea Rescue Institute said. His wife’s body was found around 200 metres away along the same beach, the Institute said.

The couple tied the knot in front of family and friends at the First Presbyterian Church in Holywood the previous Saturday.