A popular Moray teenager who “brought happiness everywhere she went” has died suddenly.
Heather Welsh, from Forres, was well-known across the country in the athletics community after years competing in hammerthrow competitions.
However, as well as her sporting endeavours, the 19-year-old was also a regular face at her hometown’s swimming pool where she taught disabled children to swim, often making a connection with them when nobody else could.
She had just finished her first year studying animal and conservation biology at Napier University in Edinburgh when she suddenly took unwell.
Despite being transferred to hospital in Glasgow, where every effort was made to save her, she tragically died last Saturday.
Father Ian Welsh said: “She didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life yet, but it didn’t bother her. She was just happy-go-lucky and just enjoyed herself.
“The nature of her personality meant she that she somehow managed to get on with everybody.
“She somehow connected with the kids she taught swimming lessons to, even those who weren’t able to verbally communicate, she somehow connected with them and just got them swimming.
“She brought happiness wherever she went and seemed to have a permanent smile on her face.
“The amount of messages we’ve received from people she had a connection with has been quite incredible.”
Miss Welsh worked at Forres Swimming Pool and the hydrotherapy pool before beginning her studies in Edinburgh.
Her passion for outdoor pursuits also led her to help at the Surfable Scotland surf school in Moray, which teaches children of all abilities to ride the waves.
She competed for Nairn Area Amateur Athletics Club in hammerthrow competitions, claiming a bronze medal in the north under 20 event in Inverness last year and the age group championships in Grangemouth.
Club chairwoman Susan Sutherland said: “The messages received by the club following Heather’s death have all had the same theme of the lovely, wonderful beautiful young woman that she was – always smiling and always helpful.
“The club, our members, coaches, committee and parents are truly heartbroken at the loss of Heather. She was a wonderful young lady who was a credit to the club and was just starting out in life.”
Coach Nick Stone added: “Heather was one of those people who feel in love with the sport.
“Her passion and commitment was incredible and her kindness and helpfulness was inspiring. She was the life and soul of throws at Nairn.”