Perth woman laid to rest after Egypt balloon death

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FRIENDS and family have paid tribute to Scottish woman Yvonne Rennie, who died in a hot air balloon tragedy in Egypt.

The 48-year-old from Perth was on holiday, with her husband Michael, when disaster struck.

The funeral of Yvonne Rennie will be held today. Picture: Contributed

The funeral of Yvonne Rennie will be held today. Picture: Contributed

He managed to escape but she was among 19 killed when a mid-air explosion caused the balloon to plummet into a sugar cane field in Luxor.

Mr Rennie, who was one of just two survivors, joined around 250 mourners at a service at Perth Crematorium.

They heard how the “adventurous, fun-loving woman” died in one of her favourite destinations.

Her death was a “heart-breaking” loss for Mr Rennie, her parents, Nan and Willie, and sisters, Alison and Lynn, the service heard.

Civil celebrant Barbara Millar told mourners: “Yvonne was in a country she loved and had visited before and she was there on holiday with the husband she adored.

“It was unlike Yvonne to go back to somewhere she had visited before.

“She liked to try new places, ever the adventurer.

“Something drew her back to this country - the people, the climate and the history.

“The couple had been to Cairo on one holiday and Sharm-el-sheikh the next. They were planning a fourth trip to Alexandria but this was not to be.

“Yvonne was enjoying herself and having fun and that is how she should be remembered.”

Mr Rennie, 49, a construction worker, is thought to have survived by leaping from the balloon basket as it plunged to the ground. He suffered only minor injuries and was able to return home following treatment at Luxor International Hospital.

After the tragedy, a statement issued by the Foreign Office on behalf of his behalf said: “Yvonne was my rock, my friend, my shoulder to cry on. She was my world.”

The couple married in Gretna Green in November 2007 after meeting at work.

Mrs Rennie was employed for a spell at Monarch Airlines in Luton before moving back to Dundee several years ago.

She got a job at Ninewells Hospital where Mr Rennie worked in the same department.

He asked why she never made him coffee, the congregation was told, and she replied he could “do it himself”.

After that he asked her out for lunch and she accepted.

They did not tell colleagues of their romance until Mrs Rennie took a job as an appointments officer in the radiology department of Perth Royal Infirmary in June 2006.

Colleagues at NHS Tayside, many of whom attended the 40-minute service, said she was a much-loved member of staff and would be greatly missed.

Mrs Rennie was pictured in her wedding dress on the back of the order of service, with an image on the front showed her kneeling, surrounded by daffodils.

Mourners sang the hymn All Things Bright And Beautiful and heard a poem entitled Memories Of The Heart. They were told they should remember Mrs Rennie’s “adventurous spirit and love of life”.

She was a Formula One enthusiast and the track played as mourners left the crematorium was Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain, part of which is the signature tune of the BBC’s coverage of the sport.

Ms Millar said the couple never argued - except about motor racing.

”Mike preferred Jenson Button and Yvonne was firmly in the Lewis Hamilton camp,” she said.

Donations were being taken for the charity Shelter Scotland.

London-based Joe Bampton and his Hungarian-born partner Suzanna Gyetvai also died when the balloon exploded into flames and crashed into sugar cane fields on 26 February.

The company operating the flight, Sky Cruise, was also involved in a balloon crash into the Nile in October 2011.