Service held for tragic Kielder father and daughter

PRAYERS will be said at a special church service for a father and daughter who died in a Northumberland boating accident last weekend.

Geoff Wilkinson and his daughter Victoria

PRAYERS will be said at a special church service for a father and daughter who died in a Northumberland boating accident last weekend.

Geoff Wilkinson, 52, died on Sunday after the accident on Kielder Water, and his daughter Victoria, 17, died a few days later.

Tomorrow there will be a special prayer service at the parish church in Kirkwhelpington, where they lived.

Rev Dagmar Winter, priest in charge at the church, said: “Our service tomorrow morning will be a service with a particular opportunity for prayers for the Wilkinson family.

“We have changed what we were going to do, it will be a simple morning prayer service.”

And Rev Winter added that she expected an increased number in the congregation as people turned to the church in a time of difficulty. She said: “I expect there will be people wishing to attend and come together as the church is offering a focal point.

“We have had people coming in throughout the week, alone and in pairs, just to sit or to look at the candles that have been lit.”

A book of condolence has also been opened at the church.

Mr Wilkinson suffered a heart attack as he tried to save his daughter after their dinghy capsized on Kielder Reservoir last Sunday afternoon. It is thought Victoria became trapped under the boat and her dad was thrown free but went in to find her.

Both were underwater for around 10 minutes. Victoria, a pupil at Ponteland High School, was on a life support machine at Newcastle General Hospital, but died on Tuesday.

Accident investigators from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch have visited Kielder to begin their probe into the tragedy.

Mr Wilkinson, who worked as a solicitor for Cumbria County Council, has been described as a much-loved family man. And earlier this week Stephen Prandle, headteacher at Ponteland High, described Victoria as ‘bubbly and enthusiastic’ adding she was hugely successful in almost everything she did.

Other member of the family are wife and mother Catherine, known as Kate works as a GP at a practice in Scots Gap, Northumberland, and the couple’s two sons, schoolboy Ben and Jack, who is in his first year of medical school.

School friends of Victoria’s have posted messages and memories on social networking site Facebook.

Hana Bashir writes: “She'll never be forgotten, its such a shame I think our year should definitely do something in memory of her. Hope her family have the strength to get through this. R.I.P. Vicki and her dad.”

Harriet Curson from Ponteland High School says: “What a beautiful girl. Your dad did the bravest thing anyone could do, R.I.P never forgotton, regards and deepest sympathy to her friends and family xxx.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer