Shona, from Cloughey on the Ards Peninsula, was on holiday in the Costa del Sol, Spain, with her boyfriend when she took ill and passed away suddenly in hospital in the early hours of Monday morning.
The 27-year-old barrister and her partner, Simon Brown, had been due to take part in the Memory Walk for the Alzheimer’s Society this weekend, a cause very close to her heart. A number of Shona’s friends and work colleagues are now planning to complete the walk as a tribute to her.
Kind-hearted Shona had set herself a fundraising target of £200, but that figure has now been matched almost 10 times over thanks to a flood of donations on her JustGiving page since news of her tragic death.
The total current stands at just over £1900, and many of donors have also left messages of condolence to Shona’s family.
Shona had pledged to support the work of the Alzheimer’s Society, as several members of her family have been affected by the disease.
Speaking to the News Letter yesterday, her heartbroken brother Eamon described his younger sister as “a fun-loving and approachable person”, who was passionate about her work and was also a great supporter of local charities.
He said Shona’s death had come “completely out of the blue”, adding: “To say that it was unexpected is an understatement. As far as we were aware Shona was fit and healthy, so it has come as a complete shock to everyone.”
Shona’s oldest brother Michael has flown out to Spain to retrieve his sister’s body. The close-knit family now face an agonising wait for answers, in the hope that results of a post-mortem examination will provide some closure.
Shona was a former pupil of Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Knock, Belfast. She went on to study law at Queen’s University Belfast, and was called to the bar in 2011, specialising in criminal and family law and special injury.
The Bar of Northern Ireland - which represents barristers - has expressed its sympathy.
The Bar NI said in a statement: “It is with shock and great sadness that we write to inform members of the sudden passing of Shona Killen who died over the weekend while on holiday in Spain.
“Shona was called to the Bar in 2011 and was a well-known and highly respected young barrister. We would like to express our deepest condolences to her friends and family and we place them in our thoughts and prayers. We would also reassure them that the Bar will do all it can to support them during this most difficult time.”
Shona leaves behind her mother Frances, father Seamus, and older brothers Eamon and Michael.